Children Must Be Prioritised In Next Government - Save the DCYA
Aontu Rep for Cork North West, Becky Kealy has expressed her objection to the reported removal of a cabinet position for children and youth affairs, and stated that what is needed is a competent Minister for Children – not for the DCYA to be scrapped.
Becky Kealy: “Children are the future of our society, and their development must be prioritised and reflected in the new Programme for Government as it is negotiated. The scrapping of the DCYA is the antithesis of this. Subsuming the Department of Children and Youth Affairs sends a clear message that the needs and rights of children are not a priority, do not need to be especially heard – rather children’s development is being told to wait its turn till government wants to deal with it. The protection, mental health and development of Ireland’s children takes no backseat and deserves an equal footing at the cabinet table.”
“This is stemming from the damage done to the sector by Katherine Zappone. Under her tenure and whilst propped up by FG and FF, she has taken a sledgehammer to a sector already on its knees. The sector is chronically underfunded, and throughout the lockdown, Zappone suspended the means of income for childcare facilities – then when she gave crumbs to the sector, acted as if they should be grateful for the insultingly low supports these facilities received. Hundreds of childcare facilities across the country have closed down as a direct result of her policies. Zappone is the problem, not the department.”
“The decision to remove the Minister for Children as a standalone Cabinet-level position and that the Minister for Education become the Minister for Education, Children and Youth Affairs is of huge concern to both myself and Aontú. It is of utmost importance that the next government retains the Department of Children and Youth Affairs. To scrap a vital department on the basis of the performance of their own disastrous Minister exhibits the rash thinking and attempts to display strong decision-making by a disastrous FG government.”