The Department of Children has confirmed that a second free pre-school year will not be included in October's Budget.
Minister Frances Fitzgerald said she wanted first higher standards to be brought in for all childcare facilities.
The Independent senator and children rights campaigner Jillian van Turnhout said she was disappointed by the news.
The biggest group representing childcare providers, Early Childhood Ireland, also said it was concerned its introduction may be some time off.
The chief executive-designate of the Child and Family Agency, Gordon Jeyes, has said he accepts that reports on inspections of childcare facilities should have been made available online before now and he has apologised.
Mr Jeyes will soon take over responsibility for inspections of childcare facilities.
He said State investment in the sector was low and said more was needed if standards which have been called for over the last week are to be met.
Mr Jeyes also said today that the reports on inspections of childcare facilities should have been made more readily available in the past.
He apologised for the delay and said they would be online before the end of the month.