Government must prioritise schools for antigen testing
It is indefensible that TDs would have access to free antigen tests before teachers and children, according to Social Democrats Education Spokesperson Gary Gannon.
“I have learned today that antigen tests will be made available for TDs, and Oireachtas staff, from next week. It is incredible that arrangements for antigen tests would be put in place for TDs before teachers and children in primary schools.
“The government has now been promising for months to put in place a system of antigen testing in schools, but we are still none-the-wiser about the details of any proposed scheme. Speaking during the week, Health Minister Stephen Donnelly refused to give any indication of when this scheme is likely to be rolled out.
“In that context, it is indefensible for free antigen testing to be rolled out for TDs before they are made available for teachers and children. Schools are under severe pressure from the current onslaught of covid cases and testing is desperately required to identify case and suppress transmission.
“Meanwhile, a proposed subsidy scheme, for antigen tests for the wider community, has also not been announced yet. This means the cost of antigen tests are prohibitive for many who would otherwise use them.
“The use of antigen testing, across society, is a vital component of our response to covid. The government needs to prioritise those sectors which are most vulnerable to spread – especially education, where 500,000 primary school unvaccinated children are crammed into some of the most overcrowded classrooms in the EU.”
18 November, 2021