A meeting of Wicklow County Council voted unanimously to back a call by the SIPTU Big Start campaign for increased state investment in the Early Years sector at a meeting in County Buildings, Wicklow Town, County Wicklow, on Monday (4th September). The motion called on the Government to increase investment in the Early Years sector in order to ensure that children have access to quality, sustainable and affordable childcare with decent pay and conditions for educators. Prior to the vote Early Years educators and providers, who are members of the SIPTU Big Start campaign, made a presentation to councillors concerning the serious challenges facing their sector. The presentation by SIPTU Early Year activists, Sinead Plunkett and Susan Carey, highlighted the huge strain placed upon providers and workers due to government neglect of the sector. Sinead Plunkett, from the Tus Nua Montessori and Playgroup in Bray, said: “I love my job working and educating young children but I want to be properly valued for the work I do. I think we need to come together in the sector to ensure that we are respected and recognised by the Government”. SIPTU Organiser, Shonagh Byrne, said: “We welcome the strong support expressed by Wicklow councillors at the meeting. Such support will assist us in building the Big Start campaign in Wicklow and across the country over the coming months." For more information on the Big Start Campaign see www.bigstart.ie or visit the Big Start Campaign Facebook Page.