McPeake says SDLP Early Years motion at Mid Ulster Council was ‘simply wrong’

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Sinn Féin Councillor Sean McPeake has said his party support the need for Early Years and funding for Early Years projects.

Mid Ulster Council carried an SDLP motion calling on the Department of Education to reverse a decision to cut the Early Years Fund by £1.71m.

Sinn Féin were the only party not to support the motion tabled by SDLP Councillor Malachy Quinn at last Thursday’s council meeting.

Councillor McPeake told the Mail today: “Sinn Féin position is very clear. We support the need for Early Years and funding for Early years projects. It is unfortunate that the Sdlp and others want to make the delivery of these services into a political point scoring exercise

“It is clear that John O’Dowd as Education Minister has provided over £200m in early years funding in this years budget. This includes nursery, pre school, reception, sure start and a number of other areas including the Early Years Fund.

“Sinn Féin will not stand over the motion brought forward by the SDLP that is simply wrong in both its figures and its approach. Contrary to what is being suggested by the SDLP, 2,500 pre-school places will not be lost if this fund comes to an end.

“If the SDLP did their homework they would realise that pre-school places are funded through a different budget line and that if a place for a child were to close the funding is available to place a child’s in an alternative setting.

“Instead of reassuring and informing parents what we have is a motion that will only create alarm and uncertainly. That is not the way to show leadership on this issue.”