Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Wednesday, 18 December 2019

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Children and Youth Affairs

Insurance Cover for Crèches: Discussion

Photo of Kathleen FunchionKathleen Funchion (Carlow-Kilkenny, Sinn Fein) | Oireachtas source

As I have often said at these meetings, the members of this committee are the voices of the people we represent in the early years and childcare sector on this issue, and not just our own constituents. There is total panic this week. It always seems to land on the shoulders of the workers and providers in the early years and childcare areas. They always seem to get the wrong end of everything. They had to panic about the re-registration and now we hear that Tusla will accept people after the deadline. This causes stress and worry for people. There are many examples. One provider in Donegal has a premium going up from €1,800 to €4,275, which is a huge increase. In Kilkenny a provider has had a €2,200 increase. A provider in Tallaght has had a €1,000 increase. While I welcome the payment support of €1,500, it will be a help for some people but not for others. We need to know where we can point people if the €1,500 will not cut it. Otherwise, services will close. This does not just mean that children will be left without the place they rely on, it also affects parents trying to get to work and it affects the workers working in the area, and especially in rural areas where the local childcare provider may be one of the main employers. This is very important. It appears to me that once again the early years and childcare sector is getting the raw end of the stick. I welcome this meeting and that the Minister came in to us at short notice. At least it gives some recognition to these people that they are an extremely important sector. These are my main questions. I could say much more but we must try to focus on the solutions.


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