Warning some creches may close during Covid-19 shutdown
Green Party Spokesperson on Children and Youth Affairs, Patrick Costello TD, has called on the Government to put adequate supports in place to ensure crèches reopen once safe to do so.
Deputy Costello said: “I have been contacted by numerous childcare providers who are facing the difficult decision to permanently close their crèches due to serious cash flow issues which they can no longer ignore. Minister Zappone’s delays in rolling out the wage subsidy scheme has placed huge uncertainty and pressure on an already vulnerable sector and now we are faced with a situation where many crèches may never reopen once the threat of Covid-19 leaves our shores.
“I am hugely concerned about the future viability of the Early Childhood Care and Education Sector in Ireland. Many crèches were already struggling with recruitment and retention issues which long predated Covid-19, and now the Government’s decision to halt funding to the ECCE scheme will leave many providers facing financial deadlock. Having weighed up their overheads and the pros and cons of signing up to a new scheme, many providers have been left with no choice but to close.
“If the Minister does not step in here, many parents are going to be left with absolutely no access to childcare. Parents were already faced with long waiting lists for crèches, what are they supposed to do if providers close? Sufficient financial supports must be put in place if full recovery for the sector is going to be in anyway feasible.
“I am calling on the Government to step in and take over any childcare providers that have closed so that they will remain open for parents when the country reopens. If the Government does not do this, we will be faced with an entirely new set of issues with parents unable to return to the workforce,” Deputy Costello concluded.