SIPTU Health representatives have today (Thursday, 23rd April) said the Government’s plan to meet the childcare needs of health and other essential workers falls well short of what is required by all workers on the frontline of the Covid-19 crisis. SIPTU Divisional Organiser, Paul Bell, said: “The announcement by An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar yesterday was initially met with huge disappointment by our members but overnight it has turned to huge anger among a large number of extremely hard pressed health and other essential workers.” “This childcare issue has been going on for too long as demonstrated by the number of health workers presenting for sick or annual leave to take care of their children. The Covid-19 crisis will be deepened in the coming days and weeks with many health workers unable to attend work through exhaustion and the continued unavailability of childcare.” He added: “Our members believe the Government has completely misread their concerns and produced a policy that will not work for the majority of frontline health and other essential workers. It must immediately agree a more realistic childcare plan with NPHET that covers all essential workers in both the public and private sector. Resolving this childcare crisis must be given top priority.”