Childcare providers seek government meeting over frontline workers' children

Childcare providers have asked to meet the National Public Health Emergency Team, to work out how healthcare workers' children could be minded amid the crisis, and the measures necessary to negate it.

The NPHET considered proposals on the issue yesterday - but there has been no clearance on a plan yet, with providers saying they are not any clearer on how it can be resolved.

7,000 healthcare workers have said they need support with their children throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

Regina Bushall, Chairperson of Seas Suas - a representative body for childcare providers - said decisions need to be made.

"We have no idea how they envisage that happening, at this stage, and if they engage with us, of course we can discuss it, and see what solutions might be there," she said.

"Childcare professionals themselves, who are out of work at the moment, of course, have their own challenges."

Bushall also addressed the need for specific childcare approaches in the country's regions, calling for a considered approach.

"(Government) do need now to sit down around the table with us, and discuss how it might be rolled out in different places around the country.

"Dublin, the Midlands, the South, will all have different challenges and requirements, depending on where the hospitals are, and how this all rolls out over the next few days and weeks."

Speaking on Monday, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said the Government has money to provide childcare, but is seeking public health clearance from the NPHET, continuing the ongoing conversation on frontline workers' childcare.

This morning, Chief Medical Officer Tony Holohan spoke on the issue, says he's given his advice to government:

"It's going back to the senior officials' group, who had asked us to consider the question again, because further work has been done across various Government departments to put them in a position to seek further advice", he said.

"The Ministers will give consideration to that and maybe make it public in the near future".