Early Childhood Ireland welcomes Budget 2022

Sector welcomes continuation of Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme

Early Childhood Ireland, the leading organisation in the early years sector, has today welcomed the announcement of a €100 million childcare package as part of Budget 2022.

Frances Byrne, Director of Policy at Early Childhood Ireland, says measures announced represent some long-overdue progress towards increasing Ireland’s investment in childcare to at least 1% of GDP.

She said these measures have the potential to deliver a roadmap which could transform the sector and provide the flexibility that families need as work places move to hybrid working following the pandemic.

Early Childhood Ireland supports 3,900 childcare members nationwide, who – in turn – support more than 120,000 children and their families.

The organisation has been calling on the Government to make Budget 2022 ‘The Childcare Budget’ by meeting the commitment in the national early years strategy, First 5, to double investment in childcare by 2028.

“After years of insecurity, Budget 2022 delivers some peace of mind for childcare providers, their staff and the families they serve,” said Ms. Byrne. “This increased investment recognises how essential our sector is to wider society and the economy. Now, the Government must seize this opportunity to properly reform the sector and move us closer to the much-lauded Scandinavian childcare model.”

Early Childhood Ireland also welcomed the continuation of the bespoke Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme, introduced by the Government in March 2020 in response to the Covid-19 crisis, which currently supports a significant proportion of salaries in childcare settings.

Ms. Byrne said: “We see the announcements by Government today as a renewed commitment to reforming the childcare sector by establishing a multi-annual funding model that values early years and after-school care as much as primary and secondary education. For our youngest citizens, staff, providers and parents, this is welcome.”