Dáil debates

Tuesday, 12 November 2019

Ceisteanna - Questions

Cabinet Committee Meetings

4:15 pm

Photo of Richard Boyd BarrettRichard Boyd Barrett (Dún Laoghaire, People Before Profit Alliance) | Oireachtas source

Last Tuesday, I was asked to go to an emergency meeting of parents of children in a crèche, the Magic Roundabout. They were already paying €1,100 in monthly crèche fees, which I find staggering. Those fees will go up to €1,250 a month while 20 of the parents will lose their kids’ places in the crèche. This is because Tusla told the crèche it needed to make changes, which it did. Tusla then came back and stated that because of the changes made, the floor space was reduced and it would have to get rid of 20 of the kids. This is in the middle of the term. It is unbelievable.

This is against a background where 27 crèches are threatened with closure and parents are saying they have been left in the dark about these matters. Parents are flabbergasted, shocked and do not know what to do.

In the case in question, the parents have asked for a meeting with the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Deputy Zappone, to discuss the matter. I must stress that if there were any health and safety or fire safety issues, these parents would be the first to say something must be done. What is not acceptable, however, is the sort of ham-fisted, box-ticking, blunt-instrument approach that appears to be taken by Tusla in terms of crèche facilities, compliance and so on. The big point the parents in this case made was how can one bring in a scheme for two years of free preschool care in the ECCE, early childhood care and education, scheme but not actually provide for the places, particularly considering the shockingly high levels of costs parents must endure.

Will the Taoiseach comment on that? Judging from the attitude at the meeting, there is an explosion on the way on the issue of childcare costs and the lack of childcare places.


Niamh Leeney
Posted on 19 Nov 2019 1:25 pm (Report this comment)

I’m very pleased to see someone bringing up the topic of Early Years in the Dail. And Yes, there is an explosion about to happen! The schemes and inspections are placing a massive burden on providers of Early Years. Only today, I am experiencing, yet again, the inability to contact someone regarding spending hours trying to re register. I know I am not alone in this and daily on social media, providers are stating that they cannot do their work because they are spending hours desperately trying to reregister, join the “hive” etc.

Parents will NOT be able to partake in the NCS scheme as providers cannot get ready. No one answers their calls, documents are returned stating they are not correct. It is a total mess and the stress levels amongst Providers are massive. There are talks of shut downs, walk outs, etc.

The government are not providing the support for Providers that is required , there is fear of not being inspection ready, of not being able to reregister, fear also of incorrect inspections by inexperienced inspectors who only tick boxes and don’t look at quality. Documents are emailed, last minute, by Government departments, to providers informing them of what they have to do, except these documents are so lengthy that providers don’t have time to digest them while they run their centres, support existing parents, deal with new enquiries which are rising every day, support and manage staff and supervise the care and education of the children they actually really do care for!

Something has to be done! And this all comes before the cost of Early Years Care and Education for parents! Costs MUST continue to rise until such time as a way is found to provide a professional wage to the Educators of the adults of tomorrow so that they can afford to stay in this worthy sector and have a living , no, a proper professional wage.

Minister Zappone seeks level 8 candidates ...however these graduates will NEVER work in Early Years...they will head straight to Government jobs as inspectors, teachers in primary schools, etc...here they will be acknowledged, respected and will receive a salary commensurate with their years of qualifications.

Children do NOT need educators at this level...they need love most of all, commitment to remain with them ( not staff jumping ship continuously), knowledge ( some of which should be allowed to be from prior learning), patience, kindness and time to be allowed to play and prosper.
Yes, we need action.... but it falls on deaf ears!

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