Press Release, 22/07/2015: Interdepartmental Working Group Report welcomed as 'pointing in the right direction'. Political leadership and Government action now needed.
Dublin 22 July 2015 - Start Strong - a coalition group campaigning to improve government policy on early years in Ireland - today welcomed the Report of the Interdepartmental Working Group:Future Investment in Childcare in Ireland.
Ciairín de Buis, Director of Start Strong, said,
“The Working Group Report sets out a framework for early years policy in Ireland, and has some very welcome recommendations around parental leave, extending the Free Pre-School Year and reforming and extending the existing schemes so that childcare becomes more affordable.”
Ciairín de Buis continued,
“The report has a strong focus on children and child development outcomes, while also recognising the the strain on parents of the cost of childcare. It also has a welcome focus on quality: recommending a ‘quality audit’ of services, the linking of funding to quality as well as referring to the need to move towards regulation of childminders.We particularly welcome that it recommends income-related subsidies and rules out tax credits as an option to adress the affordability of childcare.
There are some gaps – issues such as paternity leave and the low pay of those working in the sector aren’t addressed – and the timeframe for implementation is not clear, but overall the direction is the right one.”
“Of course this is a report, we tend to be very good at report writing in Ireland. What we need now is political leadership and government action, backed by public funding” Ciairín de Buis continued “The current level of public investment in Ireland’s early years services is less than 0.2% GDP, compared to the OECD average of 0.8% GDP. The Government must spend a lot more money if they are serious about high-quality, affordable early education, and they must start now.”
“With the economy turning a corner, the Government is in a good position to use the October Budget to put much greater public funds into parental leave, paternity leave, and high quality, affordable early years services. It's time for the government to show they are serious about investing in our young children.” Ciairín de Buis concluded.
Ms Ciairín de Buis is available for comment
For more information please contact Ms Ciairín de Buis 087 1207 103 or 01 662 4018
Notes to editor
• Start Strong is a coalition of organisations and individuals seeking to advance children’s early care and education in Ireland. Our advocacy is built on clear evidence of the benefits this brings for children, for the economy and for society. For more information please visit www.startstrong.ie
• Early care and education means the care and education of children in their early years, from their first months to the compulsory school starting-age of 6 years old.
• Follow us on twitter @StartStrongIrl Like us on Facebook facebook.com/StartStrongIreland