Early Childhood Care & Education


  • Extend the Early Childhood Care Education (ECCE) scheme to two year olds, increase hours from 15 to 33, extend 48 weeks a year.
  • Expand the Affordable Childcare Scheme and the Universal Subsidy towards Childcare to all make sure parents pay max 3% of their incomes in line with the Scandinavian Model.
  • Integrate care, education and after-school services by linking early care and education services, primary schools and after school services.
  • Conduct a quality audit across all early years’ services to provide baseline data for the implementation of National Early Years Strategy.
  • Publish a fully resourced rights-based National Early Years Strategy
  • In the medium term move to A National Child Care Service paid for through direct taxation.
  • Move towards an investment of 0.8% of net GDP and eventually to 1% of GDP.
  • Better income supports, particularly for single parents and migrant women.
  • Introduce a National Regulatory Body for Child Minders and After School Services
  • Review qualifications of childcare workers. Expand the Learner Fund to provide support to allow childcare workers to professionalize to progress to FETAC levels 7 and 8.
  • Unionise the industry and increase pay to reflect skills and responsibility.
  • Encourage parents to participate in the organization and structure of crèches, through places on management bodies.
  • Support stay at home parents with a review of the Growing Child Programme.
  • Improve access for children with special needs to childcare services.
  • Improving work-life balance for parents so that parents can work and bring up their children. This will mean more flexible working arrangements for parents.
  • Twelve months paid leave to be split between parents once a child is born.