The roll out of the government's baby box scheme will be delayed unil next year because of delays due to Covid-19
The Minster for Children Roderic O’Gorman has said the baby box scheme will not begin until the second half of next year.
The initiative – which was included in the programme for government – will see special baby boxes supplied to new parents in the country. Mr O' Gorman said: “Owing to Covid-19, work on this project has been delayed."
The baby box can act as a cot for newborns and includes baby clothes, small toys, baby toothbrushes and books to guide them through early development.
The scheme was originally piloted by Wexford Hospital and University Maternity Hospital Limerick. The latter conducted the first trial of the scheme which was originally aimed at increasing the survival rate of babies in Ireland.
Finland started the initiative in the 1930s and it was also rolled out in Scotland in recent years.
Last month Fine Gael TD Neale Richmond called on the Minister for Children to publish a time-line for the scheme. Mr Richmond campaigned for the scheme and said in a statement: "Following a successful pilot programme in 2019, I was delighted that the Programme for Government committed to a full national roll-out of the baby box.
"However, we need to have a clear timeline published on when the baby box will be rolled out as well as guarantees that the baby box will be pursued properly."
In response to the call from Mr Richmond, the Minster for Children said the upcoming baby box scheme will “pilot and test the design, items for inclusion, registration and distribution of baby boxes in a selected geographic area”.
"Owing to Covid-19, work on this project has been delayed. However, an oversight group will be established later this year to oversee this development.”
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