Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

15.06 20 Apr 2020


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A solution has been found to support healthcare workers that are in need of childcare, according to the Taoiseach.

However, it needs to get the green light from the National Public Health Emergency Team before details can be announced.

Recent weeks have seen unions calling for childcare to be made available for frontline health workers, with the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) suggesting it's the "least that can be done" to support staff at the moment.

The Taoiseach says funding is available to implement a plan that is now being put forward.

He said: "I know it's been very delayed: I know people are very frustrated about it, and we've had a lot of contact from unions about it.

"Whatever we do does have to get public health clearance: one of the things we're trying to avoid during the emergency is households mixing.

"We just have to make sure [NPHET] is satisfied with the proposal that they're going to examine tomorrow."

Agricultural workers

Meanwhile, the Taoiseach also hasn't ruled out the need for more agricultural staff to be flown in to work in Ireland.

Mr Varadkar admitted he didn't anticipate the need for workers to be flown in to help harvest food.

It's after Keelings Fruits flew in almost 200 workers from Bulgaria last week.

The Government has since ordered an 'urgent review' of the current rules and procedures at Irish ports and airports, and a Cabinet sub-committee is today set to discuss whether any change to the rules about international travel is needed is needed.

Leo Vardadkar said tough decisions will need to be made if workers already living in Ireland can't be found.

He explained: "Do we allow the crop to fail - which isn't a good thing - or do we allow workers to continue to come in from other parts of the European Union, but with very defined and monitored quarantine arrangements to make sure they don't create a new cluster of the virus?"

Agriculture workers are classed as essential under the current restrictions, to ensure there's enough food to eat.

Main image: Taoiseach Leo Varadkar visited the Civil Defence (Dublin Branch) Wolfe Tone Quay this morning, where he received a briefing on the contribution by Volunteers to the Covid-19 response and view equipment. Photo Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland

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