The Labour Party has accused Government of changing it’s COVID policies by the hour after the Taoiseach confirmed teachers would not be exempt from the five-day rule for household close contacts.
As part of the new COVID regulations announced this evening, all members of a household must now stay at home for at least five days when a household member is diagnosed with COVID.
They will be sent three antigen tests to self-administer while restricting their movements and can leave the house after returning a negative result on the fifth day.
Earlier today, the Labour leader Alan Kelly said Taoiseach Micheál Martin had told him in private that teachers would be exempt from the rule.
At a press conference this evening however, Mr Martin said the Labour leader’s claims were “a total misconstruction” and there was no such exemption.
"I'm very annoyed about it. A total misconstruction"
Micheál Martin on Alan Kelly. He says no-one, including teachers, is exempt from the new household isolation rules
— Seán Defoe (@SeanDefoe) November 16, 2021
In a statement this evening, Deputy Kelly has doubled down on his claims.
He said he “engaged directly” with the Taoiseach on behalf of teachers and SNAs after Dáil questions this afternoon.
“I don’t believe teachers should be discriminated against or treated differently so I raised concerns about the impact the proposed five-day rule for household contacts of confirmed cases would have on schools,” he said.
“The Taoiseach clearly told me teachers were exempt from this rule. I did not misconstruct what he said – far from it.
“It’s obvious that as a result of my colleague and our Education Spokesperson Aodhan O’Riordain bringing this to public attention, the government reversed position rapidly.
“It says so much about the incoherence of this government that policy changes by the hour, and at some stages they don’t know what U-turn they are even reversing.”
Taoiseach has confirmed to @alankellylabour that teachers are to be exempt from the proposed “5 day stay at home rule”.
Making it up as they go along. pic.twitter.com/NtouHrXFrG
— Aodhán Ó Ríordáin (@AodhanORiordain) November 16, 2021