Aontú Leader & Meath West TD Peadar Tóibín has panned the Department of Children and Youth Affairs and the Minister Roderic O’Gorman for their demands that Childcare Providers make up days missed for funerals of loved ones.

Tóibín: “After writing to the Minister, it was confirmed to me that where providers allow services to close temporarily, they must make the days. This would of course encompass situations where someone has to close to bury or mourn a loved one. The Department attempted to say that because providers have 10 discretionary days they can take off, that that sorts the problem. Time off to bury and mourn a loved one is not a discretion, it is a basic entitlement.”

The government continues to preach that we are all in this together, however one sector knows that they are the exception to that mantra. The Childcare sector in the words of one provider, has been ‘abused’ by the Department throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. For many they felt relations with the Minister and Department could not go any lower. Events of the past few weeks, proved them wrong once again. The Department and Pobal have told providers that if they take three days leave to attend the funeral of an immediate family and to mourn their loss – that they are to make them up. At a time when lives are being lost to a pandemic every day, the Department of Children are telling to childcare providers to suck it up or to make it up to the Department if they are mourning the loss of their loved ones.”

“One provider I spoke to, is absolutely distraught by the Department’s disgraceful carry on. She is holding the hand of her father who only has a few hours to live, and is now being told by the Department that when her father dies, she owes them days for any time she takes to mourn. That demand has caused her to say she won’t be reopening and that she will be shutting her. Who can blame her? “The government has been pushing messages of compassion and care, but then turns around to providers and says that their funeral and mourning comes with a cost. How does the Minister Roderic O’Gorman think this acceptable amidst Covid-19 pandemic claiming the lives of Irish men and Irish women in each and every day of the week?”