A Government decision on 6th January 2021 paused the ECCE programme for the remainder of the month and restricted access to other types of early learning and care and school-age childcare to only the children of essential workers and vulnerable children.
My Department has provided guidance in respect of the eligibility criteria for parents and providers with regard to essential workers. For the purpose of access to early learning and care and school-age childcare, an essential worker is a person working in an essential service as defined by Government.
The Government list of essential services at Level 5 is available at gov.ie and includes education.
For the purposes access to early learning and care and school-age childcare, an essential worker may be working from home. One parent working in an essential service confers eligibility.
This approach aims to protect public health and reduce any unnecessary contacts in the population, as well as ensure that essential services continue functioning for the good of society and the economy.