8 October 2019. For immediate release
Budget 2020: Little joy for parents, professionals, or providers. Ireland continues to invest the lowest amount of any EU country in childcare
New measures in today’s Budget will do little to address the legacy of historic underinvestment in early years, Early Childhood Ireland has warned.
Childcare providers around Ireland, who are already struggling to sustain vital services for children and families and to pay their staff a fair wage, will be very disappointed in the increase of €54m announced by Minister Donohoe today.
Frances Byrne, Director of Policy at Early Childhood Ireland, commented, ‘The additional funding announced today to support the Early Childhood Care and Education scheme, the Access, and Inclusion Model, Tusla’s Early Years Inspectorate, and the National Childcare Scheme is welcome. However, this is not enough to address the legacy of historic and significant underinvestment in the sector.’
She continued, ‘Early childhood is the most vital period in a child’s life. Our youngest citizens deserve high quality provision and the hardworking staff who nurture and support them should feel valued. Their families, further, deserve to pay an affordable amount for a quality and accessible system. We need to see steady progress towards Scandinavian levels of investment. Budget 2020 could best be described as snail’s pace.’
‘Early Childhood Ireland has pointed out many times that Ireland, at 0.2% GDP, currently invests the lowest amount of any EU country in children’s early years experiences,’ Ms. Byrne concluded. ‘By contrast, leading countries such as Sweden invest up to 1.9% GDP. Families, children, and the childcare sector in Ireland deserve more. Proper investment is the only way we can fully support and enhance early years provision in Ireland; ensuring quality for children, affordability for parents, and sustainability for providers.’