Schools instructed to remove more than 50 types of hygiene products

ireland
It comes following a Department of Agriculture review
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By James Ward, PA

Schools have been instructed to remove more than 50 types of hygiene products following a review.It follows a review undertaken by the Department of Agriculture after it issued a product recall notice on ViraPro hand sanitiser last week.Schools have been instructed to remove the products before they reopen on Monday following the mid-term break.

The products in question include wipes, hand sanitisers and refills, hand soap and detergents.

The Department of Education has not said the products are unsafe, but that they have been taken off the approved list for schools because it has “not been possible to satisfactorily confirm their registration status as part of the review”.

Schools with stocks of the products have been told not to use them and should store them securely until collected by the supplier.

Schools impacted by the removal of these products will be provided with funding to source new supplies.

The Irish National Teachers’ Organisation said it is unhappy with the short notice received to remove the products.

General secretary John Boyle said: “It is very concerning that many of the products on the approved list of resources have now been deemed inappropriate.

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“That this information has come to light during the mid-term break is very unsatisfactory. School leaders and boards of management needed this break to recharge after an incredibly stressful nine weeks.”

A Government spokesperson said: “The department is working with suppliers to ensure that stock is provided to schools in time for reopening on Monday 2 November where needed.

“Suppliers are ready to prioritise school orders they receive.”

Of the 52 products to be removed, there were 14 hand wipes, 17 hand sanitisers, five hand sanitiser refills, eight hand soaps and seven detergents.

A hotline has been set up for schools experiencing difficulty in sourcing or funding replacement products.

Labour education spokesman Aodhan O Riordain has called on Minister Norma Foley to appear before the Oireachtas education committee to explain the situation.

He said it had raised serious questions over the Department’s ability to lead schools through the pandemic.

He said: “It is clear from this latest debacle that there are questions of competency for the Department of Education and whether it is fit for purpose and capable to safely steer schools through the Covid crisis.

“I wrote to the Chair of the Education Committee calling on Minister Foley to attend the committee this week on foot of the situation with the defective ViraPro sanitiser.

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“Given the seriousness of the situation we find ourselves in following the recall of more than 50 products, I would again reiterate my call for her to attend an emergency meeting of the committee as soon as possible.”

He added: “School leaders are fast losing faith in the Department and Minister, and school leaders are now faced with working through the entire Midterm and the upcoming weekend scrambling to try and withdraw the products and secure replacement stock before Monday morning.”
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