The testing of hygiene products recommended to tackle the spread of Covid-19 in schools was “clearly inadequate”, a Cork TD has said, in the wake of a major recall of products from schools.
Cork TD and Sinn Féin spokesperson on Education, Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire, questioned the testing of hygiene products by the Department of Education after it was revealed that schools have been instructed to remove more than 50 types of hygiene products following a review into products being used at schools across Ireland.
The review came following a similar review undertaken by the Department of Agriculture after it issued a product recall notice on ViraPro hand sanitiser last week.
The products in question include wipes, hand sanitisers and refills, hand soap and detergents.
The Department of Education said the products 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.
While he welcomed the review of the products, Mr Ó Laoghaire expressed dissatisfaction at how schools are being given this information “very late in the day,” which leaves them scrambling to find replacements.
Indeed, given the range of products involved, then it may be even more difficult that it was with Virapro,” he added.
"This is a huge number of items from a list that schools were actively encouraged to buy from.
"I understand that all sanitiser providers were asked to provide product samples which were then assessed and evaluated by a team with the necessary technical competencies,” said Mr Ó Laoghaire.
"If that happened, then how did these tests fail to identify that some products such as Virapro were actively harmful?
“In the case of several other products, the paperwork wasn't in order. Does the Department have any comeback against the companies?
“The Department of Education urgently needs to get a handle on Covid-19 safety measures in schools because it is falling short of the mark in several ways.”