Government Continues To Mislead Parents On Capping Childcare Fees
Aontú Leader & Meath West TD Peadar Tóibín has accused the government of making false promises to struggling parents over childcare fees to ease the political pressure of the Cost of Living Crisis, whilst 4,700 childcare providers still have not been shown core funding proposals by the DCYA.
An Teachta Tóibín: “From the outset, the government has continually mismanaged the cost of living crisis hammering millions of families across the country. Of their solution to the crisis unveiled last week, barely 15% of funding announced was new funding to be deployed to combat the rising cost of existence. Now, the government is trying to paper over that reality. False promises over capping parents fees for childcare are being made by the Taoiseach and Ministers. Yet, this is misleading if not outright false. How can parents fees be capped, when Roderic O’Gorman’s Department refuse to publish how much funding will be provided to providers to survive? However, years of neglect and chronic underinvestment leaves the sector on the verge of ruin.”
“Due to the government-contractor model operating Ireland, ECCE funding is the predominant source of income for childcare providers, meaning struggling providers are forced to rely on the Department to keep their businesses open. Throughout Covid-19, the DCYA has suspended and decimated the income of providers – driving hundreds out of business, and even more into crushing debt. It is now February 2022, and the DCYA is once again letting the sector down. The core funding levels and framework have not been published so far into the academic year for children, which is leaving providers and parents in uncertainty. Providers do not know whether they will be able to remain in operation, afford day to day costs, or whether they will have to charge parents to stay afloat. The DCYA’s delays in publishing the funding affects providers’ incomes, children’s education, and parents’ fees. It simply cannot continue.”
“I have spoken extensively with the President of the Federation of Early Childhood Providers, Elaine Dunne, who has told me more than 4,700 providers are in limbo due to the Department’s delays in funding announcements. Furthermore, providers are unable to allocate places for children because they have no certainty of funding from the Department. Where is the Minister whilst businesses suffer once again because of his Department? How much a Government values a sector is reflected in how much it pays people. In the care of children, minimum wage is the industry standard. The Government has a minimum wage value on the staff working in Childcare, and now cannot even publish the insufficient funding levels on time. Yet again the Childcare sector finds itself in crisis, with sadly the EWSS scheme being the greatest stability the sector has seen in years.”