Sinn Féin spokesperson on Children Kathleen Funchion TD has condemned the sudden and sharp price increase in childcare fees communicated to parents this week by Safari Creche in Clancy Quay, Dublin 8.
Teachta Funchion said:
“We know that parents in the Dublin area face the highest fees of any families throughout the country. Accessing childcare in the wider Dublin area is a constant battle of availability, long waiting lists, lack of choice and expensive.
“I am concerned that Safari Creches are consolidating their financial position in readiness for the new funding model to be introduced in 2022 that will effectively freeze fees.
“Parents have contacted my office in droves pleading for help. They say they cannot afford the unexplained 20% price hike – this is against the backdrop of continued EWSS subsidies for the sector until at least the end of April 2022.
“I have been told by more than one parent that their childcare fees for one child in full-time care is currently €869 but will jump to a staggering €1,085 and this is after the NCS contribution is deducted.
“Creating further stress and anxiety for parents is the unexplained manner in which their fees have so dramatically increased, with no cost breakdown or discussion with parents of when their services will return to normal pre-covid operating hours.
“I warned at the time that parents were being lulled into a false sense of security with the government’s announcements during Budget 2022. It was clear that high fees would remain a significant issue for many families, and it gives me no joy to be proven right.
“So serious is this issue that I have written to the Minister to ask him to personally intervene and seek clarification from Safari on the manner, to explain their reasoning behind this price hike, and to seek a reversal of their decision.
“I strongly believe that there is an alternative for our childcare and early years sector, and I will continue to advocate and push the government to keep this issue top of the political agenda and move Ireland to a fully publicly funded model.”