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Community Child Care Providers Being Forced to Close

13 December 2007

Senator Ivana Bacik: I wanted to raise an issue that the House has already debated. On a day that we are due to debate integration, it is appropriate to ask the Leader to convene a debate in the new year on the Government's child care policy, in particular the changes proposed to subventions to the community child care scheme. I and other colleagues from both Houses attended a very helpful briefing yesterday organised by the Irish Childcare Policy Network, which is a national group of child care providers from all over the country. We were briefed on the clear consequences of the changes that will come about if such changes are implemented next June as proposed. The group is concerned that community child care providers all around the country will be forced to close as a result. Even if they do not close, there will be serious implications for integration in communities, as it will mean effectively the segregation of children of persons on social welfare.

It is important that we return to this issue in the new year and debate it again. The ICPN made a very specific request that this decision be deferred until the end of next year to enable further negotiations and consultations to take place with the Minister and other interest groups. We could help that process in this House by debating it.

I would also like the Leader to respond to the motion that was agreed on Ingrid Betancourt. I know the deputy Leader of the House had emailed Members about it and I wanted to know what had happened to that motion and whether we could bring it before the House to ensure consensus on it.