Sinn Féin MLA Nicola Brogan has said the Education Minister must take immediate action to support childcare providers after 69 childminding settings closed due to Covid-19 in the first five days after the Christmas period.
The party’s spokesperson for children and young people said:
“These closures are indicative of the severe pressure childcare providers are already experiencing due to the Omicron variant.
“According to Registered Childminders, these closures have already left more than 400 children without care and their parents without the support that enables them to work.
“Childcare providers need urgent clarity from the Minister of Education about what support she intends to extend into 2022.
“I raised the need for additional childcare support in the Assembly today and I welcome the response from the minister.
“According to the Minister’s statement a bid to extend the Temporary Closure Fund has been submitted and she is working on extending support which would ensure the sustainability of many providers.
“I am urging the Minister to take action immediately to support childcare providers and tackle this deepening crisis.”