Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald TD has described the government’s failure to put in place appropriate childcare provisions for parents returning to work as ‘inexcusable’ and warned that lessons must be learnt from previous failures.
Her comments follow the release of data which reveals that almost nine out of ten childcare providers say they either won’t reopen on 29th June or have reservations about opening on that date, according to a survey conducted by the Federation of Early Childhood Providers.
Teachta McDonald said:
“As public health restrictions continue to ease and more people return to work, the ongoing uncertainty around childcare is a source of huge anxiety among many parents who will struggle to return to work without appropriate provisions in place.
“It is inexcusable that the issue of childcare wasn’t hardwired into the reopening strategy. Such a fundamental issue cannot merely be an afterthought and should be considered a central component as parents return to work.
“We have already seen how the government’s botched handling of the scheme to provide childcare for healthcare workers led to that scheme collapsing abruptly. Lessons must be learnt from what happened and this should serve as a stark warning about the dangers of rushing through plans without proper diligence, consultation with the sector and serious consideration of parents and children’s needs.
“Urgent work is needed to ensure plans to provide childcare by 29th June do not suffer the same fate, leaving more parents cut off and uncertain about their ability to return to work while keeping their children safe. We urgently need a plan for childcare provision which meets the real needs of parents as they return to work.”