Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald TD has said that it is incredible that Simon Harris would flippantly suggest that parents rely on a ‘dig out’ from family and friends as thousands of workers are due to return to work tomorrow in the absence of a workable childcare plan.
“Tens of thousands of parents are due to go back to work tomorrow morning and many will be forced to take unpaid or holiday leave, or to leave their children with grandparents who are still cocooning because of the government’s absolute failure to bring forward a workable plan for childcare.
“It is incredible that Simon Harris would flippantly suggest that people rely on a ‘dig out’ from family and friends, something reminiscent of Leo Varadkar’s suggestion that young people trying to buy their first home should go to the bank of mammy and daddy.
“In March, the government announced a scheme to provide paid leave to public sector employees who are the partners of healthcare workers, only for the announcement to amount to nothing after being widely panned as unworkable by the sector.
“Last month, the scheme to provide childcare in the homes of healthcare workers also suddenly collapsed following the failure of the government to indemnify childcare workers.
“Parents are understandably anxious that the government are failing to provide childcare yet again, leaving many more families abruptly left in the lurch where they should be entitled to proper State support.
“We urgently need a scheme which meets the real needs of parents and properly engages with childcare providers across the sector to ensure plans are clear and viable. Parents and childcare workers deserve this clarity as a matter of urgency.”