Covid-19: Group warns of creche closures as govt tries to prioritise childcare for health staff children

Covid-19: Group warns of creche closures as govt tries to prioritise childcare for health staff children

The Government is trying to find a way to provide childcare for health service workers as services close today for more than two weeks.

Up to 70 people have now been infected with the coronavirus in Ireland, and one person has died.

Schools, colleges and childcare services have been shut by the government and people encouraged to work at home if possible due to the coronavirus.

However, healthcare workers now have to find a way of minding their children and coming into work.

The HSE has asked the Government to prioritise measures that will ensure staff can still go to work and have told unions to expect an announcement this morning.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said they have not yet found the solution.

Mr Varadkar said: "A lot of the parents of the children in those schools, in those childcare facilities are healthcare workers and we need them to be able to go to work.

"So that is something we are going to have to work on over the next couple of days to see if there is a way that we can find a means to prioritise childcare for those children. We don't have a solution to that yet, but we have identified it as an issue."

Meanwhile, Early Childhood Ireland has warned some creches could be forced to close permanently if they cannot reopen on March 30.

Up to 200,000 children and babies and 30,000 staff working in the sector are affected by the two-week closure.

Last night, the Department of Children and Youth Affairs confirmed early years funding would be ring fenced.

Frances Byrne from Early Childhood Ireland said if the period is extended, some creches could be forced to close:

Ms Byrne said: "Creches faced unprecedented challenges in 2019 and many of our members told us by the end of the year they were very much contemplating closure, that it was only going to take one more thing.

"We have been calling on Government, if that happens, that special measures would be introduced for the early years and school sector here in Ireland."

    Useful information
  • The HSE have developed an information pack on how to protect yourself and others from coronavirus. Read it here
  • Anyone with symptoms of coronavirus who has been in close contact with a confirmed case in the last 14 days should isolate themselves from other people - this means going into a different, well-ventilated room alone, with a phone; phone their GP, or emergency department - if this is not possible, phone 112 or 999 and in a medical emergency (if you have severe symptoms) phone 112 or 999

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