The cancellation of a proposed childcare scheme for frontline healthcare workers due to low take-up has been described as an “extremely frustrating” situation.

The cancellation of a childcare scheme for frontline healthcare workers has been described by a Labour Senator as an “extremely frustrating” situation.
Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Marie Sherlock said that while there were always going to be issues with garda vetting and insurance, it’s “disappointing” that those issues were not dealt with.
It was announced last night that the scheme, which would have seen temporary childcare for healthcare workers in their homes, was cancelled due to low take-up.
The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Katherine Zappone, said just six childcare providers had signed up to be part of the service.
One of the reasons put forward for the low take-up is the availability of insurance cover, which Senator Sherlock described as a “significant issue”.
She said she has spoken to healthcare workers who have had to take annual leave in order to go to work, and suggested that the date of June 29th for the reopening of crèches may need to be re-examined and possibly brought forward.
“On the other hand, there are no details to spark confidence that these facilities can be reopened safely on that date”, Senator Sherlock said.
There are many questions to be put to both the Department of Children and Youth Affairs and to the Government about how we get childcare facilities open “in a safe manner”, she added.
Crèches are due to reopen on June 29th
The Chief Executive of Tigers Childcare said staff had a number of concerns about going into the homes of healthcare workers to care for children.
Speaking on the same programme, Karen Clince said just eight of the 183 staff employed by Tigers signed up for the proposed scheme.
She told Morning Ireland that the Government should have consulted with childcare providers to see how they can reopen facilities instead of sending workers into peoples’ homes.
The Government needs to “think outside the box”, she said, and work with providers to see a return to childcare sooner.
Ms Clince added that she does not see a reduction in the number of children attending facilities being a viable option, but that sanitation and cleaning are important for the safe management of crèches and other childcare settings.
The Chief Executive of the National Parents Council said the sooner children can return to school, the better – but it must be done in line with best public health practice.
Áine Lynch told Morning Ireland that she has not been involved in any discussions about schools re- opening during the summer months, but she added that if that’s an option, pupils such as sixth class students and vulnerable students should be proritised.
Ms Lynch said that while many parents are anxious for their children to return to school, some are apprehensive about the idea.
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