Sinn Féin spokesperson on Children Kathleen Funchion TD has welcomed the long overdue launch of the government’s review and action plan for the provision of childminding in Ireland.
Teachta Funchion said:
“While I welcome that Minister O’Gorman and the Department for Children are attempting to bring about reform in this wholly unregulated sector, I would have serious reservations with incorporating childminders into the National Childcare Scheme (NCS).
“The NCS, as it stands, is fraught with problems. The system is overly complicated and, fundamentally, has not addressed the eye-watering fees that many parents face for their childcare.
“Towards the end of 2020, I conducted an online survey for parents, and fees were the number one issue.
“If I conducted this survey today, I can guarantee that fees would remain the major issue. Sadly, such high costs are a major barrier for many women returning to the workforce.
“I acknowledge that this is an important first step, and as opposition spokesperson I will certainly contribute to this conversation constructively.
“But it cannot be understated that this process must be in complete consultation with the sector. Childminders are an integral part of the wider childcare sector, and the service they provide for many families is invaluable.”