Tánaiste: 'Reflects badly' if Ireland can't reopen schools

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said that reopening schools is the "number one national objective" for him 
Tánaiste: 'Reflects badly' if Ireland can't reopen schools
Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has said it would look "very bad" if Ireland was the only country in Europe where schools didn't reopen. File Picture.

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has warned it would reflect very badly on Ireland if we were on the only country in Europe that cannot reopen schools in the coming weeks.

Facing questions from the opposition in the Dáil over concerns from parents about the reopening of schools, Mr Varadkar also confirmed that education minister Norma Foley would come into the Dáil next week and give answers.

His remarks come after growing confusion about if and how schools will reopen at the end of August.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said this is the "number one national objective" for him with the pandemic.

Speaking in the Dáil, Mr Varadkar said hairdressers, shops, restaurants and even the parliament had opened as he stressed the importance of classes resuming.

He pointed to Germany, which has had higher incidence of Covid-19, and said they had been able to reopen schools there.

“It would reflect badly on us if we were unable to reopen schools,” he said, noting that some countries didn't even close their schools.

Sinn Féin's Pearse Doherty asked about how school transport would operate and how many teachers would be coming into schools. He said, despite promises of a plan, parents had remained without any information for four months.

“Will you give certainty that all children will be returning to school?", Mr Doherty said.

Labour leader Alan Kelly said there was "a lack of confidence" in the government position.

He said Ms Foley couldn't be “hiding away” in her department and must be “accountable” to the Dáil.

Mr Varadkar confirmed that she would next week come into the house and answer questions.

He reiterated that it would look "very bad" if Ireland was the only country in Europe that didn't reopen schools in August and September.

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