Aontú Leader & Meath West TD Peadar Tóibín has slammed the recent issuing of ECCE contracts, and called out the DCYA for further mistreatment of the Childcare sector.

Tóibín: “As the Dáil goes on holiday this Friday, childcare providers are left in limbo with ECCE contracts that do not address the needs of the sector, and with no trust in the DCYA’s promises. There is no additional funding to make up the several months where providers had no income due to the government’s defaulting on its contractual obligations. Providers are meant to reopen their doors in September with a compromised capacity and debts unable to be made up by trade – and with no government acknowledgement of this fact or support. Furthermore, providers are now under an additional obligation to open up their books to Pobal to inspect come inspection time.”

“Furthermore, the DCYA have reserved the right to themselves to terminate or suspend the contracts in the event of the pandemic. Why would providers sign up to a contract the government can opt out of, particularly with the probability of a second wave occurring? The sector has been burned too many times before. The issuing of these contracts indicates that the DCYA has not learned or listened to the sector. It is no wonder that the majority of providers would prefer to be under the purview of the Department of Education.”

“The Minister must answer why there is no provision for the vast losses incurred by providers during the pandemic due to the suspension of ECCE payments, and how can providers be expected to sign these contracts when the DCYA will simply suspend or terminate the contracts if there is a second wave – which is likely.”