Sinn Féin spokesperson on Children, Kathleen Funchion TD, has warned that childcare and early years educators have once again been completely overlooked after the Government’s decision yesterday to do a compete U-turn on phased school reopenings.
Speaking today, Teachta Funchion said:
“This U-turn effectively means that we expect our childcare and early years educators, who are some of the lowest paid within the education sector, to go back to work, while their colleagues in primary and secondary education remain at home. This double standard must stop.
“The health and safety of all our educators must be paramount and yesterday’s decision once again shows the complete disregard that the Government has shown for those working in early years education. They do some of the most important work in society and already were completely overlooked in the Budget this year.
“I was also dismayed to see that early years educators, whilst expected to return to work on Monday, are not one of the first groups to be vaccinated. They need to be prioritised as a matter of urgency.
“I am also cognisant that our essential workers and vulnerable children need to be supported at this very difficult time. This must be achieved through proper consultation with the sector and the health and safety of all concerned has to be paramount.
“There needs to be consistency in how the Government treats those working in the wider education system.
“Time and again I have called for fairer wages and working conditions for our early years educators, it is important that the Government listens to their concerns and acts to protect these workers.”