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Response to Budget 2015

October 15, 2014

Initial reaction from Teresa Heeney CEO of Early Childhood Ireland to Budget 2015

“To say we are disappointed with today’s Budget is an understatement. We were looking for an indication of commitment to this sector via real investment, but we got none.

“While we welcome the increase of €5 in children’s allowance, it is too little to make any real difference for parents. This money, invested in universal early childhood education services could have delivered something more lasting for all Irish children and families.

“What’s significant in this budget is the real absence of real investment in early childhood care and education. A topic that is top of mind for parents. We don’t see any increased capitation in the ECCE (free preschool) scheme and the current rates are too low for sustainability. Furthermore, there is no mention of continuous professional development (CPD) to become an integral part of this scheme, which is so badly needed.

“Children and families have not been prioritised in this budget.

“On behalf of our 3,400 members struggling to run creches and preschools around the country supporting over 100,000 children and their families we will not let our call for increased capitation and CPD drop. This is too important an issue to let it go. We expect more from our political leaders.

“We welcome the commitment to increasing the number of special needs assistants by 365 and we will be in touch with both the Department of Education & Science and the Department of Children & Youth Affairs to make the case for at least half of these SNA posts to be directed a preschool level.

“We trust and hope that the increased budget for Tusla will mean continued and urgent investment in making the current inspection process robust, frequent and consistent. However, inspection is just one half of the equation in the drive for better quality and what we will be advocating for with our colleagues in Tusla is for more investment in training and support in the early years sector.

“As always, the devil is in the detail when it comes to any budget and we will sit down to analyse the detail of Budget 2015 over the coming days and keep our members informed.”

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