Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said shoe shops will be allowed to sell children’s footwear “by appointment only”.
Mr Martin told the Dáil the guidance would be published shortly and would be for children’s shoes only.
Mr Martin said it “is an issue the Government is examining. We do take the point that there have been issues in terms of children’s shoes being an essential item in terms of growth and development of children and the need to provide for that.
“We are finalising specific guidance. This will be published and will be outlined in the regulations that would facilitate shoe shops in particular, shoe services, to measure children and to provide for children on appointment online or by phone call.”
He stressed it was being done “for children’s shoes only. It’s very specific to children, very specific to the needs of children and development of children” and the guidelines will be published shortly.
Earlier, Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly said he wanted to see children’s shoes added to the essential retail list immediately.
There were medical implications for children, and he was clear in his view that they needed to be added to the essential retail list. “They need to be opened immediately” he told RTÉ radio’s News at One.
The Minister also said that he believed there was a role for antigen testing — in workplaces, meat plants and schools.
However, he said that there were differing scientific views on the rapid testing as there were concerns about accuracy and false readings which could lead to a false sense of security.
Mr Donnelly also defended the move to an age based vaccination system, saying there was a need to prioritise a way that minimised risk and damage so that the country could open us as quickly as possible.
“No one is going to the back of the queue,” he said. The new system was transparent and fair going on the basis of age.
Teachers were not at significantly higher risk, he said.