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Minister must engage with frontline education workers to avoid industrial action - Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD

6 April, 2021 - by Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Education Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD has called on Minister Norma Foley to engage with frontline education staff on the vaccine rollout, in a bid to avoid industrial action, ahead of her address at the INTO congress this afternoon, and the TUI and ASTI tomorrow.

Teachta Ó Laoghaire said:

"The last thing anyone wants to see is industrial action in schools. School staff are extremely reluctant to consider it as they have already put so much work into getting schools back safely.

"However, there is enormous anger at the government decision to remove vaccine prioritisation for frontline staff, including teachers and SNAs.

“We have all discussed the need for ensuring children don’t fall behind. Investing this summer will be crucial to that, in larger than ever Summer provision and DEIS summer camps. The Government need to ensure such programmes are delivered on a greater scale than ever, and shouldn’t be risking that.

“I have spoken to many teachers and SNAs who are angry and frustrated. Commitments were made to education staff that they would receive vaccine priority. They returned to school buildings on the back of these commitments.

“Government have broken their commitments.

“They were assured they were a priority, because education is a priority. Government now needs to back that up.

"Industrial action can be avoided if the political will exists in government. Teaching staff just want the commitment they were given to be restored."

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