Aontú Leader & Meath West TD Peadar Tóibín has flat out condemned the Department of Children and Youth Affairs (DCYA) for their shocking actions in demanding monies back from childcare providers – despite the DCYA financially decimating the sector throughout the pandemic.

Tóibín: “It is hard to wrap your head around just how unrepresentative and out of touch the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs is of the childcare sector and its needs. The DCYA is shaking down childcare providers that are on the brink of financial ruin. In documents obtained by my office, I have discovered that the DCYA Early Years Division are now saying they overpaid providers and over-supported providers and are demanding that providers return monies back to the DCYA. Maybe the Department has forgotten that over 200 providers closed because of the lack of financial supports during the government enforced lockdown. Maybe the Department forgot that there was no provision in place to support or subside owners’ income or business income. Maybe the Department forgot that there was no financial package for the sector. The DCYA does not have a clue about the actual on the ground status of the sector. The Minister is nowhere to be seen and is out of touch with grassroots organisations.”

“It is galling for providers many of whom face debt mountains of tens of thousands of euros, to now have a department that refused to support them throughout the crisis and let hundreds of providers go to the wall, turn around and say they over-supported them – and need their money back. The DCYA had the temerity to brag – in their letter to providers – that they had supported businesses and saved jobs. It’s amazing, in the Dáil today, I compared the plight of the Taxi drivers to the childcare sector and spoke of how the government refused to do anytPAULhing to help the sector. On the heels of my speech, it seems the DCYA wanted to prove me wrong – and show they would do everything to detriment the sector.”

“The Department, the Minister, the Government have inflicted pain, distress and financial ruin on the childcare sector. You would think they would count their stars that their negligence was not greater scrutinised, but not true to form they came back to further punish a sector that has no friends in the cabinet room.”

NB Please see Childcare Letter Seeking Return of Money Attached