A spokesperson from Seas Suas on childcare comments by An Tánaiste today, 9 July 2020:

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“The true extent, scale and seriousness of the crisis in childcare was firmly and finally acknowledged today.

“Only 60% of early learning and care services have signalled they will reopen by September, meaning one in four may not be in a position to reopen. Immediate action is required to address this and to ensure the situation does not worsen further.

“Closed for almost four months, childcare services reopened less than two weeks ago with significantly reduced demand and hugely increased costs due to Covid-19.

“In short, a stark funding gap is central to this crisis.

“The former Minister for Children and Youth Affairs announced a funding package worth €75 million to support ELC providers in the initial reopening. While welcome, it falls short.

“We, as providers, have put forward our own proposed funding model for review and consideration. A funding model which is focused on delivering practical and immediate support for the remainder of 2020, which addresses the current demand issues, which considers the challenges the sector and school-age childcare will face – should schools not reopen – and which provides certainty, is required.

“Without this, many providers will continue to be left unsure and uncertain of the longer-term viability of their services. 

“The challenges facing childcare services in Ireland long precedes the current pandemic. As providers, we have called on the Government to work with us in assessing the needs of the sector, while seeking greater investment in affordable, quality and sustainable learning and care.

“At a time when the economy is reopening and parents are returning to work, a fully functioning childcare sector is required. Childcare supports parents, our children and the providers, while also facilitating the revival and recovery of our economy.

“We look forward to engaging with the new Minister in solving this current crisis and in planning for the future of childcare services in Ireland.”

END