PROVISION for a second free pre-school year will not be included in this year's Budget, according to Children's Minister Frances Fitzgerald.
She has said that while she remains committed to bringing in the second year, it will happen over the "next number of years" rather than this year.
"We should progressively move to it, absolutely, but we begin with bringing in more qualifications, more robust inspection and higher standards," she added.
"You have to put the building blocks in place so that we deal with the quality issues."
The introduction of a second free pre-school year is a priority of Education Minister Ruairi Quinn and, in last week's Dail, several Labour Party TDs raised the issue.
– Clodagh Sheehy