31 March 2020
By Elaine Murphy
The government must act to provide childcare to frontline healthcare workers, the INMO has said.
School and creche closures have left many healthcare workers unable to attend work due to childcare responsibilities.
The INMO is also aware that informal childcare networks of friends and family are becoming less viable, as many grandparents are advised to cocoon, and travel is restricted.
The union is calling on government to provide direct childcare to frontline healthcare workers, to enable them to attend to their work safely.
INMO General Secretary, Phil Ní Sheaghdha, said:
“Childcare can be expensive and difficult at the best of times, but school and creche closures have pushed the problem to breaking point.
“9 out of 10 nurses and midwives are women. Our members cover 24/7 shifts. Childcare has always been a major practical issue in our professions.
“With school and creche closures, our members are being put under intolerable pressure. This has not only added needless stress at a difficult time, but has made rosters and staffing increasingly difficult.
“COVID-19 means ensuring we have as many nurses and midwives on the frontline as possible. That is being increasingly compromised due to a lack of childcare.
“Practicalities aside, Ireland is asking a lot of its frontline workers. The very least that can be done is providing backup childcare when they are facing down COVID-19.
“We have raised this issue repeatedly with the government for several weeks, but are still awaiting a response. We have stressed to the HSE and government that this must dealt with immediately.”