Today, the day the Dail breaks for summer holidays, Early Childhood Ireland reminds TDs and Senators of the unacceptable situation that 3,370 childcare workers have to sign on dole over summer costing €7.2m to the exchequer
With the Dail officially breaking up for summer holidays today, and the Seanad finishing next Wednesday, Early Childhood Ireland is sending a reminder to TDs and Senators that over 3,370 people – that is almost 14% of the total workforce of 25,000 childcare workers in Ireland – had to sign on the live register in the summer of 2014, at a cost to the exchequer of €7.2 million, with similar levels signing on this summer.
Meanwhile, owner/managers of the preschools already closed for the summer are unable to draw down any dole payment and with no money coming into their service over the summer they get no pay for all the paperwork / preparation they do to get ready for the new term starting in September. This is due to the fact that the ECCE (free preschool scheme) contract is not fit for purpose right now in terms of capitation or duration which forces early childhood care and education staff onto the dole over the summer months.
Early Childhood Ireland is urging all politicians to consider this unacceptable situation and what it says about early childhood education as a profession and to take the time over the summer recess to analyse the recommendations of “Footsteps for the Future – Increasing investment in Early Childhood Education” launched this week and available free online at www.earlychildhoodireland.ie
In a note issued to Senators and TDs today, Teresa Heeney CEO of Early Childhood Ireland says, “There is a lot of work to be done pre budget on moving Ireland to where we should be in terms of investing in this critical area of early childhood education. We certainly won’t stop campaigning over the summer and we will be in touch with all political parties and independent deputies and senators.”