There will be a strong Laois representation at the Early Years protest in Dublin as creche and playschool owners and staff from around the country take part in a march this Wednesday, February 5.
Early Years Educators from all over the country will gather at Parnell Square and march to Leinster House in a bid to be recognised as professionals offering Early Years Education and Care.
Early Years educator and creche owner from Portlaoise Monica Delaney said: “We demand to be recognised and consulted in a respectful manner.
“We all care for and educate the children of our country, our most precious members of society.”
Monica, who has a number of facilities in Portlaoise and has had hundreds of children pass through her care over the years, said that the last term was particularly difficult for most in the sector as all Early Years providers had to re-register their setting by December in accordance with new regulatory requirements.
There was also confusion in relation to the Tusla requirements for this process with conflicting information from Tusla.
Monca said: “We suffered huge increase in insurance premiums just days before Christmas due to the withdrawal by Ironshore Ltd from the Irish market leaving just one insurer to monopolize it all.
“My own insurance saw an increase of 220%. To add to the carnage we also had the government launching their new National Childcare Scheme which we as a sector realise is completely unworkable for us and no matter how often we tell them it is not fit for purpose no one is listening.”
On Wednesday, Early Years educatiors will be marching for:
- Double funding to ECEC services on an incremental basis over the lifetime of the next government, starting in September 2020, bringing Ireland closer to the EU average.
- Provide the necessary funding and mechanism for a Living Wage for Early Years Educators in 2020 as a first step towards professional pay and recognition.
- Introduction of a new funding model that supports affordability and accessibility for parents, high quality experiences for children and professional pay and conditions for educators, as committed to in First 5, the whole of Government strategy for babies, young children and their families.
- Establish a streamlined inspection process with a graded compliance system.
- Support effective policy development by engagement with the ECEC sector through respectful negotiation and a co-design approach