Following the upcoming election, the incoming Government must take action to alleviate the current crisis facing those working in the childcare sector, according to independent candidate Michael Fitzmaurice.

Today, thousands of early year educators have gathered in Dublin to protest against the many problems which have the sector on its knees.

Arranged by the ‘Together for Early Years’ coalition, participants in today’s march are calling on the next Government to increase funding so that it reduces fees for parents, increases pay for educators and supports the sustainability of services.

Fitzmaurice said: “As it stands, Ireland is lagging behind other EU countries in terms of investment in early learning and childcare services. And yet, the fees facing parents here are amongst the highest in Europe.

“Childcare costs for a family now, especially for those who have kids in full-time services, represents one of the largest bills the household will have to deal with every month.

“On the other hand, early childcare providers and educators are struggling to survive financially due to low wages.

“These are highly dedicated people who have gone through years of education to get the qualifications required to care for and educate children – and yet they are being forced to turn their backs on the sector they aspired to work in as they cannot secure a sustainable wage.

“Everyone is at breaking point and frustration is boiling over, and rightly so. Educators cannot continue to survive on such low wages, but – equally – parents are paying amongst the highest fees in Europe and cannot afford further hikes.

“The incoming Government must take action and commit to increasing funding to the sector. The importance of early education for young children cannot be underestimated.

“This funding is also imperative to ensure that standards of care are upheld and that the sector is properly regulated,” Fitzmaurice concluded.

Michael Fitzmaurice – 0861914565

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