'We are sane people'- Waterford Crèche questions Taoiseach
A Waterford woman has hit back at comments made by government officials. Elaine Walsh who owns the Duine Beag Childcare Facility in Dunhill spoke of her struggles to Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in Waterford over the weekend.
Recent protests took place by childcare sector workers and creche owners in recent weeks in relation to soaring costs and loss in profits. He was attending the Small Business and Enterprise conference at SETU where many businesses voiced their concerns.
Thousands of childcare providers and supporters protested outside the Dáil to demand increased funding for the sector.
The Federation of Early Childhood Providers, which organised the event, heard requests for increased financing for daycare centers and changes to the state's primary funding scheme. According to the organization, hundreds of creche operators closed for three days as a form of protest.
The Department of Children said it had only received notification of closure from 64 creches.
Elaine says," It was very unhelpful for Roderick O'Gorman to come out last week and say that our protest was unwarranted when there have been omissions of failings.
"It is very unhelpful for someone to come out and say something like that to the sector. We live the reality and are sane people. We are not coming out on the streets for no reason, but because of a problem.
'It's that disrespect that's shown to our sector and the lack of consultation. When you take education out of our title it somewhat diminishes the role of what we do.
"I would try to be hopeful but I do think that there is very much a lack of meaningful consultation with our sector it needs to be changed."
An Taoiseach response
In response, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar says the situation remains difficult but work is being done.
"I will talk to Minister O'Gorman about that. There is a curriculum and the reason why there is a national curriculum is because there is an educational element to it.
"He will say to me there is a consultation alongside the Early Years Forum where the consultation happens.
"One of the difficulties we have as a government, and there is always a difficulty for government, is that there are four different groups that represent the childcare and early education sector at the moment. It is always easier for us to deal with one. We had a situation where one group was out protesting and the others weren't so that makes it more difficult as politicians to solve the problem but we do solve the problems.
"There are many businesses that may be represented by two or three different unions but we do get around the table and sort things out in the end but it is easier when there's one body to talk to and not three or four."
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