Early childhood care and education cut by €320m
€320m euro has been taken out of early childhood care and education in recent years, according to the Association of Childhood Professionals, which is holding its annual conference in Cork today.
The group said the current system is failing children, and has set out changes it said are required to ensure a high quality service.
These include an increase in qualification standards of childcare staff, the development of a more robust and regular inspection system, and the roll-out of an effective national support service.
Chairperson of the ACP Marian Quinn, said she wants the new Minister for Children, Charlie Flanagan, to prioritise early education.
"We're calling on him to look at Europe and look within Ireland on how it can be meaningfully prioritised," she said.
"Quality costs money, and there's no way you can get that quality without … investing in the delivery."