In response to the Government’s announcement yesterday of a €1500 average grant to childcare providers, Róisín Shortall TD and co-leader of the Social Democrats has criticised the decision as a stop-gap measure and no substitute for adequately resourcing childcare.
Ms Shortall said, “The Government’s tactic of keeping childcare at an arm’s length means most providers operate in the commercial sphere, and the fact that spiralling insurance premiums are negatively affecting some childcare providers should come as no surprise.
“The decision to grant an average payment of €1500 across the board to each facility is short-sighted and a blunt instrument. It does not take into consideration the fact that some childcare providers are large, profit-making organisations while smaller providers are struggling to make ends meet. The Minister is referring to this grant as one meant to cover administrative fees and not insurance costs, but its timing is auspicious and is clearly being used as an emergency fund for the crisis before us.
“It will not effectively solve the issue at hand and is only a sticking-plaster that will, in effect, subsidise insurance companies in the short-term.
“It also begs the question, where did this extra €7 million come from and why was it not being used to proactively assist the sector? There are childcare workers on minimum wage, many of whom find themselves out of work every summer due to lack of pay regulation in the sector. Yet the Government has been able to produce extra funds at the drop of a hat to cover insurance companies this week.
“The crisis in the early childcare sector is not new and it will not go away with a once-off grant. The State needs to put in place a system of public provision of childcare, as already happens in most other European countries. We need a full-scale national childcare service, and the Government needs to commit to taking responsibility for this key public service.”
20th December 2019