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Early Childhood Ireland welcomes publication of ‘First 5’, the national early years strategy

November 19, 2018

‘An important milestone for babies, children, and families’

Early Childhood Ireland welcomes publication of ‘First 5’, the national early years strategy


Early Childhood Ireland welcomes the publication this morning of First 5, the long-awaited national early years strategy for Ireland. This cross-Departmental, ten-year plan is an important milestone for babies, children, their families, and communities around the country.

Publication was marked with an event this morning attended by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar TD; Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr. Katherine Zappone TD; Minister for Health, Simon Harris TD; and Minister of State at the Department of Education and Skills, Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD.

Early Childhood Ireland is pleased to see a strong focus on our sector. First 5 acknowledges the historical underinvestment in early years care and education in Ireland and proposes to establish a monitoring mechanism to track future spending. This is a very welcome development – addressing the issues facing the early years sector will require significant investment, embedded in a whole of government approach.

First 5 also shows a significant focus on establishing a new funding model for the early years sector. As the leading stakeholder, Early Childhood Ireland looks forward to working with the Department of Children and Youth Affairs to develop a model that ensures quality for babies and children in a flourishing, sustainable sector.

Speaking at the launch, Teresa Heeney, CEO Early Childhood Ireland, said, ‘We are delighted to see the publication of First 5, the national early years strategy, this morning. This strategy represents the culmination of an important period of research, discussion, and cooperation focused on how to ensure the best possible outcomes for children under 5 in Ireland. First 5’s focus on children’s rights and the need to enhance funding and investment in our sector and its staff is very positive.’

Frances Byrne, Director of Policy and Advocacy at Early Childhood Ireland, commented, ‘First 5 makes welcome reference to the need to support the early years workforce, both through improved working conditions and continued professional development. As the key stakeholder, Early Childhood Ireland looks forward to working closely alongside the DCYA to ensure greater investment and supports are made available for early years professionals. These professionals support and nurture young children during one of the most crucial periods in their young lives, and they must be at the forefront if Ireland is to deliver high-quality, sustainable early years care and education.’


For more information or media queries, please contact Grace Duffy on (01) 404 0644 or 086 1448768.


Note to editors
Early Childhood Ireland is the largest organisation in the early years sector. It represents 3,800 childcare members, who support over 100,000 children and their families through preschool, afterschool, and full day-care provision nationwide.

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