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Covid-19 Pandemic

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 22 March 2022

Tuesday, 22 March 2022

Ceisteanna (705)

Carol Nolan

Ceist:

705. Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science the cost incurred by his Department for the supply of Covid-19 related face masks and face coverings since March 2019 to date; the name of the supplier involved; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13893/22]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Further and Higher Education)

The Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science was formed on the 2 August 2020. Please see table below which provides the details requested in relation to the supply of Covid-19 related face masks and face coverings for my Department. 

Face Masks and Face Coverings – D/FHERIS

Supplier

Total

Bunzl Cleaning & Safety Supplies 

1,048.18

Charles Hughes Ltd 

1,589.75

Cloonans Hardware 

36.40

Codex Office Products Group 

38.67

Heavins Hardware Centre Ltd 

24.80

Grand Total

2,737.80

The onset of the pandemic in 2020 also presented unique challenges across the Higher Education and Further Education Sectors. Early on, a review was conducted by my Department in consultation with the Higher Education Authority and Institutes and Further Education and Training stakeholders to ascertain the impact of the crisis on the sector.

Following on from this review, €316m was allocated to the sector for Covid supports in 2020 which includes funding used for masks and hand sanitiser.

- €100m for a range of labour market programmes and initiatives through SOLAS, Skillnet Ireland and the Higher Education Authority.

- €92m to enable a safe return to work and the re-opening of the Further and Higher Sectors, as well as supporting the Frontline response. This was for the transition to remote and distanced working, and to cover costs of utilising buildings for testing centres and field hospitals.

- €77m to support students and learners, especially protecting access to education for those in vulnerable or target groups.

- €48m to protect and support Irish research and researchers during the pandemic.

Additionally in 2021, €105m was allocated for the safe reopening of the sector.

In the Higher Education sector, this Department allocates funding through a grant to the Higher Education Authority (HEA) which distributes the funds to the Higher Education Institutions. In the Further Education and Training (FET) sector, Education and Training Boards (ETBs) are responsible for structuring their funding provision. This is being carried out in conjunction with Strategic Performance Agreements in place between SOLAS and each of the ETBs.

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