A local TD has raised concerns about the re-opening of schools without additional safety measures. Schools across the country have returned last week and while we have seen a decrease in Covid-19 case numbers since New Year’s Day covid infections remain high in our communities. With children returning to school it’s very possible we will see further increases. Figures from before Christmas showed that Lucan had one of the highest incidence rates in Dublin with 1920.9 cases per 100 000. Clondalkin had an incidence rate of 1592.9 and Palmerstown-Fonthill 1643.2, all above the national average. The incidence is likely to be much higher at this time considering the large case numbers in the past two weeks.
People Before Profit TD for Dublin Mid-West Gino Kenny commented: “A safe return to school will require the return of the contact tracing system, HEPA-filter systems in every classroom and adequate staffing levels. Schools that have high levels of absence from staff due to covid clearly cannot open safely.
“The Government has put profit before public health throughout this pandemic. Two years into the pandemic our ICU capacity remains among the lowest in Europe and instead of increasing our contract tracing capacities, they have reduced them.
There is an urgent need for free Covid-19 antigen tests, along with the ramping up of the PCR testing system. Workers need to know that they are protected financially and legally against being forced back to work while they have the virus. In the absence of a PCR test, employers must recognise the Antigen test results and ensure that workers are adequately paid to allow them to isolate.”