Speaking after the decision not to close childcare facilities while schools close for an extended period in January, Sinn Féin spokesperson on Children, Kathleen Funchion TD, has said:
“It is really difficult to understand why this decision was made. For far too long early years educators have been taken for granted by this state. They do some of the most important work in society and already were completely overlooked in the Budget this year.
“Now, again, we have an example of just how much this invaluable sector is taken for granted. Consultation with those working in the sector is crucial.
“There will be difficulties for staff who themselves have school-age children and under lying health conditions- yet none of this seems to have been considered by the Government.
“There needs to be equality of protection for all our educators and children regardless of their education and care service. Early years and childcare should be afforded the same entitlements as the wider education system. I have contacted the Minister to express this view.
“It is important for provision to be made for childcare for frontline workers and this can be provided with Government support.”