Updated: 20/10/17 : 05:14:08
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Sligo meeting for recruiting and retaining staff in early education confirmed

IMPACT union has said that calls by childcare providers, to reduce qualification standards for employees, were not the answer to the current challenge of recruiting and retaining staff in early education.

IMPACT organiser Lisa Connell said, “This is essentially a call to drive down wages, and force qualified professionals out of the sector. Parents wouldn’t tolerate a situation where qualification standards were reduced for teachers in our schools, why would they tolerate it for their pre-school children?

“I think this is short term thinking, and will only serve to diminish the educational standards in the crucial pre-school years, where children are learning how to learn,” she said.


IMPACT is hosting a series of meetings across the country for workers in the early childhood and education sector. Each meeting will include a guest TD from the local constituency.

The meetings have been organised by the union’s Early Impact branch, which represents early education professionals, including childcare staff and workers delivering the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) programme.

Lisa said the meeting provided an ideal opportunity for a constructive engagement between workers and Dáil representatives. “We’re delighted that a number of TDs have agreed to take part in this discussion. The early education sector is facing a very real crisis due to the ongoing lack of investment in the sector, and this is an opportunity for policy makers to dig deeper on the issue by talking to the professionals who deliver the services,” she said.

Lisa said that, while the recent budget saw some improvement in state funding, which should be of benefit to parents and families, there is still a very severe lack of investment which Lisa said “translates into very low levels of pay for highly qualified early education professionals.”

The meetings include a question and answer session. Lisa said all early childhood staff are welcome to attend, even if they aren’t members of IMPACT. “We want to hear from as many people as possible, as this is a conversation that could spark really positive change in this crucial sector,” she said.

Meeting details:

October - All meetings commence at 7.30pm

    Monday 23rd, IMPACT Office, Fish Quay, Sligo (Martin Kenny TD)
    Monday 23rd, Amber Springs Hotel, Wexford (Brendan Howlin TD)
    Tuesday 24th, Tower Hotel, Waterford (Kathleen Funchion TD)
    Thursday 26th, IMPACT Office, Roxborough, Limerick (Jan O’Sullivan TD)