CORK TD Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire has described the failure of the Minister for Education to allay the concerns of teachers and school staff to guarantee the reopening of special education later this week as a 'calamity'.
Deputy Ó Laoghaire is disappointed the safety concerns teachers possess have still not been addressed to date.
"The news that the INTO has stated that there remain grave concerns amongst teachers and that the Department of Education has failed to address them, reflect a complete and utter mishandling of this issue by the government.
"Children and parents were told late last week that special education provision would resume this week. This now looks in serious jeopardy,” he said.
The Sinn Féin spokesperson on Education revealed that the government is not learning from previous mistakes.
“The pronouncement last week followed on from the debacle of the week prior when the Minister for Education tried to bounce stakeholders rather than engage in proper dialogue and secure agreement to do so with school staff. They have made the same mistakes again and they have not acted on the concerns relayed to them.
"Trying to dictate policy by press release is not the way to do business. It is utterly irresponsible and has once again proved fruitless due to the failure of the Minister to address the concerns of the school staff. This represents a monumental failure on the government's part. Students, parents, and teachers remain in limbo once again with no clarity,” he added.
The Cork South-Central TD wants the concerns of teachers and school staff to be addressed to ensure the educational needs of the students will be catered for.
"They must be foremost in our minds in trying to get education back up and running. They should be priority number one.
"Desire to reopen special education alone is not a solution. Properly addressing the concerns of teachers and school staff is what is required. I believe there is a genuine desire among all, including staff, to ensure children with special educational needs can return to in-school learning.
“We might have a solution by now if the Minister didn't take teachers for granted and once again try to bounce them into a decision without the government having done its homework,” he added.