News & Media

Government going through charade to restore childcare - Sherlock

23 June 2020

Statement by Sean Sherlock TD
Parliamentarty Party Chair and Spokesperson on Social Protection, Community and Rural Development and the Islands; Agriculture and the Marine
Minister Sean Sherlock

Labour Party Spokesperson on Children and Youth Affairs, Seán Sherlock has said the Government engaged in a charade with no concerted effort to restore childcare, as officials from the INMO confirmed correspondence showed that the HSE and the Departments failed to act to provide childcare for frontline workers.

Deputy Sherlock said:

“The 18 May deadline, that was the deadline that was fixed in the minds of all of us here in terms of the expectation that childcare for healthcare workers would be provided at that point. That deadline was missed.

"If I look at the evidence base here, based on the litany of correspondence, I would have to conclude objectively that there was never going to be a serious attempt on the part of the HSE, NPHET or even any of the line Departments to provide any kind of childcare for healthcare workers. It seems to me that there was no concerted effort. There was maybe a bit of pageantry being gone through, a bit of choreography, or a pretence that they were going to deal with that issue.

"Looking at the scheme up to 18 May, it was going to be devised along the lines of childcare professionals going into the homes of healthcare workers. In my opinion, for what it is worth, they had never fully worked through what the protocols around that would be. It seems to me that what we are at here is the Government is going through a charade in respect of taking the issue seriously.

“The message to take away for us, as public representatives and Teachtaí Dála, is that the issue of the clawback of parental leave needs to be addressed. There has to be recognition of healthcare workers in respect of the amount of parental leave and other leave that they have taken to meet their childcare needs. The State owes them a service or favour in that respect in terms of seeking to claw that back.”