AS IN NZ, IRELAND HAS A FREE ECE SCHEME AND SECTOR LOBBYISTS WORRY WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO THE CHILDCARE INDUSTRY AS GOVT SEEKS TO MAKE CUTS IN SPENDING
Ireland. April, 2012 - Leaders in childcare are calling on the Government to protect the care and education of pre-school children.
For the past four years, the Early Childhood Care and Education scheme has given a free year of education to every child of preschool age, paid for by the State.
The scheme replaced the Early Childhood Supplement, and was designed to save the Government over €60m a year. However, as the Government seeks to make more savings in expenditure, fears are growing that the pre-school scheme, which costs around €170m per year, will be hit.
Children will suffer if any cuts are made, CEO of Early Childhood Ireland Irene Gunning says.
"The scheme is very good for children at that age," she says, also admitting that "it has kept the (childcare) sector going".
Read more: Irish Examiner