“As the representative body for independent early learning and full day care (ELC) providers in Ireland, and as a member of the DCYA Advisory Group, we welcome the further guidance provided with regard the practicalities of reopening ELC centres in Ireland and that it was delivered within the timeline promised. We welcome and acknowledge the progress on the practicalities being made.
“However, the vital piece in making any real progress is missing.
“Since the outbreak of Covid-19, the twin challenge of safely and commercially reopening childcare services has been clear.
“Twice now, attempts to reopen ELC provision have failed. Today’s government update presents the possibility of a third failure.
“We all share the goal of safely reopening childcare. But safety guidelines are just one part of the challenge. The other is addressing the cold commercial crisis that only one in five children may return to ELC care for a prolonged period.
“Guidelines will not meet our significant costs, overheads and don’t pay bills. Mortgages, salaries, utilities and more must be paid for in order to operate. That is before a single euro is spent on Covid-19 related safety requirements.
“We have today published detailed proposals which can address the commercial crisis. Unless and until we get a whole of government response, childcare simply cannot return and thus the ability of our whole economy to get back to work is dented.
“We note the Minister’s signals of her engagement with her colleague the Minister for Finance. Time is tight and given the limited consideration to date of the commercial realities, we are concerned that ELC care providers will be faced with delay or closure. The Minister for Finance is the key to avoiding a third failure.”