Aontú Rep for Cork North West, Becky Kealy has called on Roderic O’Gorman to get his act together and start delivering for a childcare sector in desperate need of help.
Becky Kealy: “Many in the Childcare sector struggle to remember a time when the sector was not in crisis. The changing of the guard from Zappone to O’Gorman has brought no respite to the sector with the sector remaining neglected and attention focused on adult gender politics. There continues to be no meaningful communication between the Minister and childcare providers on the ground. Businesses are having to close down because of inadequate emergency staff – with many skipping lunch breaks and running themselves into the ground to try cover all demands. There’s talk from the DCYA of capping childcare fees and undercutting the incomes of providers – after months of the DCYA letting providers fail. The Minister has failed in any meaningful manner to put in place specific measures to aid Childcare providers trying to reopen.”
“As schools reopened, the government announced hundreds of millions worth of funding to help the return of schools and had over a thousand teachers and staff on standby to supplement current staff. The childcare sector have none of that – the Minister has not secured expedited testing for staff, not secured emergency staff to keep facilities open where a staff member is self-isolating, and has not secured any meaningful funding for a sector in freefall. One childcare provider said to me ‘for the good of my health and my business, I want nothing more to do with the DCYA or Pobal – and go back to being a private childcare provider.’”
“From Zappone to O’Gorman, the sector has had no reprieve – only additional pain, additional stress, and additional abuse.”