Government Talks: Make Early Years a Priority

Negotiations for the next Programme for Government are starting today.

Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and the Green Party are looking to agree a plan for the next five years.

We have to make sure that funding for Early Years is a top priority.

A New Way to Fund Early Years

Low pay, high fees and inadequate funding are no longer acceptable.

That’s why 30,000 educators, providers and parents protested on the 5th February.

We need a new way to fund Early Years that fixes these big problems.

The solution is really simple; government should fund the wages of Early Years Professionals and support other costs of service delivery.

This would improve pay, reduce fees and help make services sustainable.

Organisations across Early Years and civil society support this approach, including the Association of Childhood Professionals, Barnardos, BLÁTHÚ Steiner Early Childhood Association, Gaeloideachas, Irish Congress of Trade Unions, Men In Childcare, National Childhood Network, National Community Childcare Forum, National Women’s Council of Ireland, PLÉ: The Irish Association of Academic in Early Childhood Education and Care in Higher Education, Saint Nicholas Montessori Society of Ireland, SIPTU and the Union of Students of Ireland to name a few.

Significantly, Anne Rabbitte, Fianna Fail Spokesperson for Children, is also in support of this approach.

Take Action

Already hundreds of educators, providers and parents have taken action and contacted their local TDs.

But we need to keep up the pressure.

If we show politicians that this a big issue, we can make sure the next government delivers real change.

You can help make this happen by emailing you local TDs right now, it takes just 1 minute.

If you have already contacted your local TD, brilliant!

You can support the campaign again by asking friends, family, parents and colleagues to send an email.

‘Childcare Scheme’ for Health Workers

Since the closure of Early Years services, parents working in the health service have been struggling to balance work and looking after their children.

This is impacting on the ability of the health service to manage the Covid-19 crisis.

That’s why Minister Zappone announced the ‘Temporary Childcare Scheme for Essential Health Workers (TCSEHW)’ scheme yesterday.

SIPTU had previously advocated that any scheme should be voluntary put the health safety of educators, parents and children at it’s core.

Full details are will be released today and will be posted on the Big Start Facebook page.

It is recommended that childcare workers volunteering for the scheme are paid on average €15 per hour.

Members who need advice about this scheme can contact their local SIPTU organiser or email

The DCYA have also released today an update FAQ and How To Guide on the Temporary Wage Subsidy Childcare Scheme.

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