Government’s Record on Childcare Will Have Been to Break Many Providers
Aontú Leader & Meath West TD Peadar Tóibín has condemned the flagrant mistreatment of childcare providers by an unelected Minister, and has said if the abuse continues there might not be a childcare sector come September.
“Over last weekend, childcare providers were contacted late on Saturday night, to be informed that monies the DCYA had paid them were now owed to them. This just the latest instalment in the mistreatment of childcare providers throughout the pandemic.
A payment under the AIM scheme to support children with disabilities and secure teachers was promised and paid on April 3rd - then the payment was taken back by the department.
Then Minister Zappone pledged that in addition to the 70% wage subsidy, the DCYA would top up the remaining 30%. However, there has been no calculations or figures provided to support the payments. Accordingly, payments were made that were either too much or too little.
Providers felt they could not touch the funds for fear that they would be asked to return the funds. Several times throughout this pandemic providers were given funds to pay teachers, only to be told a few days later they owed the DCYA more than they had been paid. One teacher was told at 11pm this past Saturday that she owed the DCYA over 20'000 euros.
The Minister’s Office has not been able to be contacted. They refuse to answer the phone. They arbitrarily amend statements, and offer no clarification as to calculation of supports. Announcements are made late at night on the weekend - twice on bank holiday weekends. In the words of one childcare provider, their conduct has been nothing short of “psychological abuse”. Another said that the mistreatment by the sector has caused her to shut down her business, and leave the profession. This government’s record on childcare will have been to break many providers within the childcare sector.”
The Childcare Sector is such a vital part of our economy and our society, and quite simply the government’s disregard for the sector cannot and must not continue.