Jack Quann
Jack Quann

14.56 14 Jan 2021


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One woman says the Government should step in to ensure uniformity across the childcare sector.

Emer says both she and her husband are considered essential workers, but are working from home.

Their two children, aged five and six, would normally go to creche after school - but not since the schools are closed.

Emer told Lunchtime Live she is paying the same fees as before, even though they're not using the creche services.

"I guess at the moment (I'm) having the same issues as a lot of households: two working parents at home, doing the right thing as the Government says, kids are at home cause the schools are closed.

"Normally our kids go to creche after school, but obviously we're doing the right thing and we're keeping them at home.

"However we're still having to pay".

Emer said she doesn't mind this, and "this is not a gripe at the creches" as they still have fees and bills to pay.

"My gripe is with the Government... How is it OK for kids to not go to school, but yet it's OK for them to go into a childcare facility and be mixing with 10, 20 kids - and these are the age group that just don't know how to social distance".

"I just don't feel confident sending them into a creche with the way the numbers are".

"But we're still having to pay for the creche even though we're not using it because we're deemed an essential worker."

She said she believes the Government is offering mixed messages.

"The Government has basically said 'You're essential workers, you choose not to send your kids to creche - that's your decision, but you still have to pay'".

"It's kind of not our decision: the Government are telling us to stay at home, limit your contacts - so I don't even go down to my sister anymore... we are literally in our own bubble, we're not seeing people".

Emer said she believes direction should be coming from the Government, as different creches are taking different approaches.

"This isn't probably a conversation I feel that I should be having with the creche, I feel it should be coming from higher up from the Government [with] direction.

"And there doesn't seem to be consistency: I know some creches aren't charging parents and some creches - I've heard anecdotally that - they're saying either pay your fees or lose your space".

'Government basically threatened us'

Amy Dowd is a manager of a community daycare centre in Co Roscommon.

She said there was a lag in information to creche owners.

"Every creche has their set of fee policies, and so every creche is going to be unique".

"The problem is that the Government made these very [sic] decisions at the last minute, parents were issued guidance on Thursday evening before all the creches in the country received any guidance.

"We were waiting at the computer, waiting for any type of information from the Government to help us prepare for what was coming for the next three weeks.

"We didn't get that information until just before 6 o'clock on Friday evening".

And Amy said there is nothing to offset the drop in numbers.

"My centre personally is down in attendance 90% compared to what it was in September - and there's no extra funding".

"The Government basically threatened us that if we didn't open, we could lose all of our funding.

"So while it's not sustainable for us to be open, we still had to offer those services to parents even if some places only had two children".

Parents 'still have to pay for creche' they can't use

00:00:00 / 00:00:00

    

Main image: A young girl playing with multi-coloured building blocks. Picture by: Geoff Kirby/EMPICS Entertainment

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Amy Dowd Childcare Sector Coronavirus. Creche Fees Creche Emer Essential Workers Lunchtime Live

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