23 September 2023
By Elaine Murphy
Sinn Féin TD for Cork South-Central, Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire was speaking today in advance of a week where a number of creches and childcare providers have announced that they will be closing their doors for 3 days (26, 27 and 28 Sept) in protest at what they feel is Government failure in the childcare sector.
Teachta Ó Laoghaire said,
“In Cork in particular, we have a very real crisis and I have contacted the Minister for Children, Roderic O’Gorman and urged him to intervene directly to ensure that there are adequate childcare places in the area.
“We are clearly at something of a crisis point in childcare provision in the Cork City area. I and others have been raising for many years, concerns about the sustainability of childcare providers and in recent weeks we have seen some childcare providers announce that they are closing permanently and others who are closing temporarily.
“This is obviously upsetting news for all involved including for staff and management, but for these parents and children, there are no available full time childcare places anywhere in the broader city area.
“This is causing enormous stress and has huge ramifications for people’s ability to go to work. Simply put, there are families now in different parts of the city where parents are talking about whether one of them needs to give up work because they have no childcare options.
“That is grossly unfair and reflects years of neglect of the childcare sector and the failure of successive Governments to plan for childcare as a public service.
“Childcare is not a luxury for very many families, it is not optional, it is essential to allow them to go to work. This has not only implications for these families but this also has strategic implications for Cork as a city, if childcare places continue to remain as rare as they are.
“The Minister needs to address this, he needs to intervene directly and that means the State creating capacity where required. This may involve partnerships with state bodies such as the ETB or other state bodies, but it must be done urgently.
“These parents and their children cannot afford to wait for months and months, they cannot afford to give up their jobs, they deserve childcare and they need an urgent response from Minister Roderic O’Gorman.
“We have to start seeing childcare and early years education as a public good and treat it as a public service.
“I have written to the Minister urging him to act, because right now in Cork there is a very real crisis situation and we have parents who have nowhere else to turn to.
“It’s simply not good enough, the way the childcare system works at the minute.
“The Minister needs to act now.”