Aontú’s Tóibín Claims 180 Childcare Facilities Forced To Shut Amid Pandemic

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Around 4 in 10 childcare providers may not re-open in September. That’s according to the Tánaiste Leo Varadkar.

It comes as a TD has claimed 7 childcare providers have closed in the past 24 hours because of a lack of support from the government.

Aontú Leader & Meath West TD Peadar Toibin says he estimated 10% of childcare providers have had to close since the onset of COVID-19.

He told the Dáil the sector is dying on its feet and that it will get worse without government intervention:

Deputy Tóibín reckons that at least 180 childcare facilities that have been forced to shut their doors due the government’s lack of support.

“The childcare sector has been under phenomenal pressure for the last number of years with tens of thousands having to take to the streets. However shockingly according to information that I have received from the sector itself, 180 providers have closed since the start of the Pandemic.”

“As many as 10% of Child Care Providers have shutdown all ready due to the lack of support. And the closures are accelerating. In the last week alone it has been reported to me that 55 Childcare providers have closed. My office spoke to the sector twice on the phone yesterday. Between calls 3 more had shut their doors. 7 services have closed in the last 24 hours in Dublin alone”.

“The Child Care Sector is dying on its feet and yet the government is sitting on its hands. Now I spoke to the Federation of Childhood Providers. They are not just charging the Department of Children and Youth Affairs of wilful neglect of the sector. They are accusing the department of Children of gross mistreatment of childcare providers. The Federation of Childhood Providers informs me that they have had to set up a mental health team with two doctors, to deal with the trauma and upset caused to its members by the DCYA. I call on the government to finally step up and intervene urgently to ensure that these Childcare services have the necessary supports to make it through the crisis.”

“One of the biggest concerns I have is what’s happening to the children with no voice. Many children with additional have been abandoned. Its estimated that there are 7,000 children with additional needs in the sector, many who have been sitting at home without a service or 5 months. These children more than most need professional educators and routine. Their parents also need the respite that comes with the service. This is not happening. I have been an elected rep for 12 years Táiniste and have spoken to many many representative groups. I cannot recollect a sector more stressed, angry and fearful than this sector. Service providers have castigated the previous Minister’s inaction.”

“Zappone stated that there was €750 million going to go into the sector. It has not materialised. Key stakeholders are being kept out of meetings and a decision making process that’s glacial. We need to get practical here. Creche and Montisorri Owners are working 70 hours a week, snowed under with administration, for nothing. They have no income. Services are on reduced hours and the numbers of children has been reduced. Money is still needed for over heads, electricity, heating, Insurance, rent and wages. Debt is piling up. Will The Government inject a funding lifeline into the Childcare Sector Now to stabilise it and see it survive. Will they provide that funding now?”

Aontú Leader & Meath West TD Peadar Toibin