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This State among the worst for childcare thanks to Government neglect – Ó Caoláin

11 December, 2008 - by Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD

Commenting on the UNICEF Report published today which finds that the 26 Counties come last in a league table of the 25 OECD countries in terms of provision of early childhood education and care, Sinn Féin Health & Children spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD said it is "a direct result of Irish Government neglect".

He said, "UNICEF has found that this State is bottom of the league table of 25 OECD countries in terms of the provision of early education and care for our children. This is a direct result of Government neglect over the past decade. I have no doubt that this will be seen as one of the greatest failures of policy by Fianna Fáil-led governments during the 'Celtic Tiger' years when they refused to put in place high standard care and early education accessible to all children.

"This week parents, children and childcare workers demonstrated in Dublin and Cork in protest at the Government's Community Childcare Subvention Scheme.

"The ill-conceived scheme is creating divisions between children from families who receive social welfare payments and those who do not. It is a totally inadequate way to fund community childcare and as a result many crèches are closing. Creches have been burdened with bureaucracy to administer the scheme. The Government has also completely failed to address the disgracefully low pay of childcare workers in the community sector.

"The UNICEF Report is a wake-up call that should prompt people to renew campaigning for high standard early childhood care and education as a right." ENDS

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