Sinn Féin Dublin South West TD Seán Crowe has called for clearer answers to be given to School Principals and Schools Boards regarding the funding for additional cleaning costs for schools when they finally return following the post-COVID Lockdown

Teachta Crowe said:

“Worrying reports have emerged from the Department for Education that estimate costs for additional COVID hygiene measures in schools could be in the region of €25 million as schools will be required to undertake more frequent and intensive cleaning of their buildings when they return.

“There can be no question of schools having to shoulder these extra costs.

“Most schools in my constituency have no wriggle room when it comes to budgets and are already stretched beyond breaking point following years of austerity and underinvestment.

“Before the pandemic hit, many were already struggling to afford the cost of basic cleaning services and some have been put in the difficult position of asking pupils parents to fork out monthly contributions for cleaning costs to help plug ongoing funding gaps.

“Months ago, I put in parliamentary questions to the Minister for Education asking him what supports he would give to schools and his answer was to say that it was a matter for School Boards and Principals. That is not good enough.

“Due to the pandemic, it is clear that extra cleaning and hygiene measures will be essential for schools in order to protect the health of pupils, teachers and the wider community.

“Any new government will have to ensure that sufficient additional funds are allocated for this extra cleaning, so schools can prioritise safety without having to worry about struggling to pay these additional costs.”