Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín TD has secured data from the HSE on the number of schools nationally that have experienced outbreaks of Covid-19 since the schools reopened, including the general geographical location of these schools.
The data was released in response to a written question from Deputy Tóibín to the Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly.
Commenting on the data, Deputy Tóibín said:
“It isn’t fair that teachers unions across the country have been deprived of this information. The government rhetoric has been ‘we’re all in this together’, but that doesn’t stand up if teachers and essential workers are being deprived of the data relevant to their sectors. In order for politicians like me to decide whether to support or oppose the decisions the government and NPHET are making we need to be furnished with all the data. This hasn’t been happening during this pandemic, I am waiting now a full month for the Minister for Health to respond to a question I’ve asked about whether or not his Department has been made aware of any increase in the suicide rate during the pandemic. Without these answers we cannot make informed decisions when it comes to restrictions and legislation”.
Deputy Tóibín continued:
“The data released to Aontú shows that of the 384 schools where testing was carried out, 67% of them are located in the East of the country, which shows that even when it comes to Covid_19 there is a Dublin centric bias at play. We know from the data that only ten percent of schools have been tested – my constituents are also telling me they were waiting up to five days or a week for their child to be tested after being told to self-isolate. So the testing regime needs urgent improvement. Delays in testing have a knock-on effect on others, a child waiting a week for a test means he or she will fall behind in their studies, it means that if they are positive, the virus has had plenty of time to spread to others who haven’t been told to self-isolate, it also means that a parent or family member has to take time off work to care for the child. If we are to keep schools open then we need intense testing and tracing, and we cannot afford delays”, concluded Deputy Tóibín.