GRA welcomes decision to allow members avail of surplus vaccines

Minister of Education calls for teachers to be vaccinated at ‘earliest possible opportunity’

GRA welcomes decision to allow members avail of surplus vaccines. File photograph: iStock

The Garda Representative Association has welcomed the decision by An Garda Síochána to allow members avail of surplus vaccines.

The association has been advocating for gardaí to be among those to be vaccinated once those in the top priority categories have been immunised.

GRA interim general secretary Philip McAnenly said the decision by garda management to allow officers to avail of surplus vaccine was a “welcome outbreak of common sense”.

However, he suggested there should be a proper vaccination plan for gardaí.


“Our members have always accepted that people such as the elderly, the medically vulnerable and frontline healthcare workers should go first,” he added.

“But after that, we believe the gardai should be among the next group of people to be vaccinated as critical frontline workers in the battle to contain Covid-19.

“Gardaí are at high risk of catching the virus in the course of their duties and therefore putting their families, their colleagues and the public at risk too.”

Meanwhile, Minister for Education Norma Foley has asked for frontline school staff to be vaccinated at the "earliest possible opportunity".

Currently education staff are in the 11th cohort of those to be vaccinated. That cohort is described as “those who are essential to education and who face disease exposure – primary and second level school staff, special needs assistants, childcare workers, maintenance workers, school bus drivers etc.”

The Department of Health has stated that those in education will be among the first third of the adult population to be vaccinated.


A spokesman for Ms Foley said that she has asked for consideration to be given to the “school community as the vaccination programme is rolled out in order to accommodate front line school staff within the vaccination programme at the earliest possible opportunity”.

Speaking on the Saturday with Katie Hannon programme, ASTI president Ann Piggott suggested there was "room for maneouvre" in relation to vaccinating teachers.

She proposed that they could be made a higher priority provided it did not impinge on those who are at greater risk and need to be vaccinated first.

Ms Piggott told the RTÉ Radio 1 Saturday with Katie Hannon programme that Covid numbers at present are similar to what they were at the start of December hovering between 300 and 750.

She said that on December 18th there were 575 cases “roughly where we are now”.

By Christmas Day the figures had reached 1,025 and by January 8th more than 8,227.

“If the numbers continue to rise as they did at Christmas, it will be a worry. If they manage to stay the same, our members will cope in schools, but they are worried,” she said.

Secondary schools are due to return in full onApril 12th after the Easter break.

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy is a news reporter with The Irish Times