23 April 2020
By Bryan Smyth
Fianna Fáil TD for Cork North Central Padraig O’Sullivan says the government’s failure to act on childcare provision for frontline workers is a major source of anger and frustration among parents who are working during the COVID-19 crisis.
He’s written to the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs asking for resources to be allocated to ensure childcare provision for these workers.
Deputy O’Sullivan explained, “Healthcare and other frontline workers are keeping this country running at the moment; looking after very sick people and ensuring that those of us who are healthy have all the essential services we need. However, their needs are not being met – particularly parents, who are finding it incredibly difficult to find childcare supports.
“With the schools and creches closed, there are few options open to parents who are considered essential workers and who have to leave home every day. They’re having to try and get family and friends to help out and are juggling rotas to make things work – this is incredibly stressful and not sustainable in the medium or long term.
“One constituent of mine is a nurse and her husband is a farmer. They don’t have anyone to look after their kids during the day and its simply unsafe to have the children on the farm without proper supervision. Another mother has raised concerns that her 12-year old child is having to look after her other children while she is at work; something which she says she worries about constantly.
“Families should not be put in these situations. It is simply not acceptable that no childcare is available to workers playing such a vital role in our society. Many of them are putting their lives on the line to look after our loved ones – childcare is the least they should expect in return,” he concluded.