Budget 2020 will see an extra €94m allocation for the Department of Children and Youth Affairs.

Within this, Minister Donohoe said that funding for early learning and childcare will increase by €54m to support the continued provision of two years of the Early Childhood Care and Education Scheme for all children

It will also ensure the full participation of children with disabilites under the Access and Inclusion model and support the introduction of the National Childcare Scheme. 

Mr Donohoe said he is also increasing the allocation for Tusla by over €29m to support continued reduction in the number of children per social worker and address the cost pressures in private residential and foster care.

Early Childhood Ireland said Budget 2020 will do little to address the legacy of historic underinvestment in early years.

Childcare providers around Ireland, who are already struggling to sustain vital services for children and families and to pay their staff a fair wage, will be very disappointed in the increase of €54m announced by Minister Donohoe today.

Frances Byrne, Director of Policy at Early Childhood Ireland said steady progress towards Scandinavian levels of investment was needed but that Budget 2020 "could best be described as snail's pace."