*Violet-Anne Wynne at the General Election count in The Falls Hotel. Photograph: John Mangan
Concern has been expressed by Clare TD Violet-Anne Wynne (SF) over the level of worry experienced by parents within the county about accessing childcare when they attempt to return to work.
Wynne has highlighted the matter in a parliamentary question to Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (FG) and called for workers to be protected when they begin to return to employment.
Of ‘particular concern’ to the Kilrush woman is the amount of female workers who have made contact “to express their worry about the provision of childcare”. Violet-Anne stated that it had “accepted” female workers on low incomes were the most affected in job losses during the pandemic.
Closed childcare facilities has made “a return to work nearly impossible for these mothers”, she stated. “Many female worker’s with children would have previously relied on grandparents to help with looking after children during working hours before COVID-19. However the now isolation of grandparents makes such family help impossible. Employers cannot put pressure on female worker’s with children to return to work without first making provision for their childcare needs”.
Ireland’s roadmap for reopening society and businesses needs to be applied in every workforce, she maintained. “The Protocol must be used by all workplaces to adapt their workplace procedures and practices to comply fully with the COVID-19 related public health protection measures. Providing childcare to female workers with children is a vital workplace practice that has to be made. The threat of a job loss cannot be used to pressure mothers”.