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Ireland’s early learning and care services are reaching a tipping point. The continued viability of the sector is increasingly at risk because of the myriad of challenges it now faces.

Rising costs; difficulty recruiting and retaining staff; inadequate State supports; strict regulations; and a lack of consultation from Government are all threatening the long-term sustainability of of early learning and care services and school age childcare in Ireland.


There are up to 400,000 children in Ireland aged five and under, and their pre-school years are a critical time for their development. Ensuring that these children receive the best quality and most appropriate care and early education during their formative years is vital—not only for the children themselves, their families, but, also for our wider society and our economy.


There have been numerous changes in the sector and new policy initiatives introduced. But the lack of a cohesive long-term vision for the development of the sector is undermining the potential that ELC has to make a significant contribution to the well-being and development of our youngest children. We have, as yet, failed to identify what our ideal system of ELC will look like and how we can collectively achieve it.


Seas Suas is pushing for closer collaboration between the ELC sector and decision-makers in Government, particularly in the Department of Children and Youth Affairs. To that end, we have set out a 10-point plan for ELC sector reform that assures an impeccable standard of education and childcare for young children, and a fair deal for providers.





  • Address the staffing crisis

  • Address the issue of staff salaries

  • Reduce the burden of State-imposed charges on ELC providers

  • Tackle the administrative burden faced by ELC providers

  • Provide greater financial support to providers for non-contact time and time spent administering ELC schemes

  • Improve consultation with ELC providers

  • Introduce Garda clearance passport

  • Ensure capacity of ELC providers to accommodate increased numbers of children under the age of 2

  • Review planning guidelines to ensure existing ELC capacity is considered

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