Minister O’Gorman announces gradual lifting of restrictions on delivery of early learning and childcare services from 8 March As part of the COVID-19 Resilience and Recovery 2021 -
The Path Ahead approved by Government today (23 February), Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth Roderic O’Gorman, T.D., has announced the gradual lifting of restrictions on the operation of early learning and childcare services, subject to continued improvement in the public health situation. Since January, early learning and childcare services have been restricted to children of essential workers and vulnerable children only and the ECCE pre-school programme has been suspended. As part of a careful and cautious reopening of priority sectors of society and the economy, early learning and childcare services will open for other groups of children throughout March on a phased basis.
- From 8 March, the ECCE Programme will reopen for all participating children; and
- From 29 March, subject to public health advice, other restrictions will be lifted so that all other children can return to early learning and childcare services (i.e. those that are not the children of essential workers or not vulnerable children). From 8 March, there will be a return to normal funding arrangements under Department funding schemes. A Covid-19 Operating Support Payment (COSP) introduced in February will be extended until 26 March for eligible services. This will help to offset loss of parental fees for services which are highly reliant on private income.