Without childcare, people cannot return to work
"Without childcare, people cannot return to work," says the Chairperson of Seas Suas, Regina Bushell.
Seas Suas is the representative body for independent early learning and full day care providers in Ireland, Ms Bushell was reacting to comments made by Minister Zappone in the Dáil.
Ms Bushell stated: "As a member of the Department’s Advisory Group consulting on the return of childcare provision, we are encouraged by some of the specifics we learned – specifics we have been eagerly anticipating for some time now.
"The return of childcare provision continues to be a crucial priority which needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency. While the focus has understandably been on providing childcare provision for healthcare workers, we now need solutions for all workers.
"This week saw some essential workers return to work and as the next phase of the Government’s roadmap fast approaches, providing childcare solutions to the wider workforce is now becoming an imminent reality for which practical and workable solutions are required.
"As providers, we need detail to allow us to plan and put the necessary measures in place; to contact our staff and prepare them for the return, including briefing and training our teams on the processes and procedures in terms of new and advanced health and safety protocols.
"Parents also need clarity so they can plan their return to work and take comfort that childcare will be provided.
"Childcare provision is central to the reopening of our economy as it fully facilitates the return to work for parents and families throughout the country. Without childcare, people cannot return to work.
"And most fundamental of all, we need to prioritise the needs of our children who have been away from childcare services for over two months now. They need to be able to return to some kind of normality and continue the early learning, educational and social benefits they receive from childcare providers.
"Central to this is the re-opening of centre-based care and Seas Suas is currently planning and preparing a model to support providers in re-opening their services while we also continue to work with the Department of Children and Youth Affairs and the advisory group in providing guidance and consultation to allow us reach solutions in a timely manner, in the best interest of all."