Sinn Féin Dublin South West TD Seán Crowe has described the collapse of the government’s childcare scheme for frontline health workers as predictable and inevitable as the outstanding issue of insurance cover was never dealt with.
Teachta Crowe said that the government’s refusal to indemnify childcare workers for Covid-19 related claims is a significant contributing factor in the cancellation of the scheme.
A recent survey suggests that roughly 7, 000 frontline workers are experiencing difficulties with accessing childcare supports during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Teachta Crowe said:
“Last week, Sinn Fein raised our concerns around the failure of the government to provide an indemnity to workers providing childcare to frontline healthcare staff during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“This came after the main underwriter in the sector, Allianz, told childcare providers that they would not provide cover for Covid-19 related claims.
“The broker Arachas Insurance engaged with the government on this issue, calling on them to indemnify providers and workers offering childcare to frontline staff. However, the government refused to do so and this is the result.
“The failure to address this issue fatally undermined the government scheme and it has now been cancelled. This was unfortunately all too predictable and inevitable as the outstanding issue of insurance cover was never dealt with in any serious fashion.
“The Department of Children and Youth Affairs had been planning this emergency childcare service for some time and has known about this insurance issue. It is incredible that this could not be resolved and that acting Minister Katherine Zappone has cancelled the frontline childcare support scheme at the 11th hour.
“The HSE are saying that 7,000 frontline workers are experiencing difficulties with childcare.
“Throughout this crisis, we have heard announcement after announcement about how important frontline workers are, but practical and vital supports like childcare remain just a promise.”