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Big Kids

28th Feb 2018

Parents are angry at how late they were told about schools closing this morning

Mums and dads were left scrambling for childcare.

Gillian Fitzpatrick

Much of the country woke up to a thick layer of snow this morning.

And with orange and red weather warnings now issued by Met Éireann along with a forecast of further heavy snow showers, it looks like we have another day at least of wintry conditions.

However, many parents on Wednesday were annoyed with the delay in telling them that their children’s schools would be closed; some messages didn’t reach mums and dads until 7.30am – a time when many would have already been due to leave for their morning commute.

Indeed, Social Democrats spokesperson for children, Councillor Jennifer Whitmore, has been critical of how the situation has been handled.

relationship with his granny
The Greystones politician said: “At 5.50am, Met Éireann issued a Status Red weather warning for snow and ice in Dublin, Kildare, Louth, Wicklow and Meath.

“However, it wasn’t until an hour and a half later – at 7.18am – that the Minister for Education issued a tweet advising that decisions on school closures would be made locally by each school, including those in Red areas.

“This was too little too late. If the weather forecast is serious enough for a Status Red warning, then surely there should be early and clear direction from the Department to schools that a red alert means stay at home.”

Councillor Whitmore added: “It is not good enough for working parents to be told at such short notice that their children’s schools will be closed. Parents then have to scramble to put in place childcare arrangements or negotiate with their employers to take time off work or work from home.”

And Labour Party Education spokesperson Aodhán Ó Ríordáin also said: “The hands-off approach taken by the Department of Education in relation to school closures is showing a stunning lack of leadership.

“School principals are contacting me all day from all over the country  wondering what they should do. Schools are unsure whether they will be required to make up the days if they make a decision to close their school because of health and safety concerns.

“It is obvious that the Department should make a centralised decision to close all schools in the Red Alert areas.”