Sinn Féin spokesperson on Children, Kathleen Funchion TD, has today published a motion calling on the Government to reform the childcare sector in a way which is fairer for parents, staff and providers.
The PMB includes commitments to increased annual funding for the sector, a plan to incrementally reduce fees charged to parents, as well as better pay and working conditions for staff.
Teachta Funchion said: “I am proud to be publishing this motion today, to compel the Government to finally face up to much needed and long overdue reform of the childcare sector.
“The cost of childcare has been allowed to spiral to eye-watering amounts which simply aren’t affordable for ordinary families. For many parents, it is equivalent to having to pay for a second mortgage every month.
“Ireland has some of the highest childcare costs in the EU. This is unfair and unsustainable.
“The absence of a proper childcare system is economically damaging as it forces parents, especially mothers, out of the workforce.
“My motion contains an ambitious and comprehensive plan for the childcare sector to tackle this. It includes yearly funding increases for the sector to ensure long-term investment, as well as a plan to incrementally reduce fees to ensure lower, fairer costs for families.
“It also pledges better pay and working conditions for staff. Workers in the early years sectors are highly qualified and skilled, yet are often paid minimum wage. They deserve fair pay.
“I am calling on TDs from all parties to back this motion when it comes to the Dáil. The scandal of childcare costs has gone on for long enough. It’s time to tackle this and replace it with a system which is fair for children, parents and early years staff.”
Notes to editors:
2. The proposals would see weekly childcare fees reduce by 13% over the course of the first year and by 66% over the course of the lifetime of the government. The current average weekly cost for one child in full time childcare is €184.36, therefore a reduction of 13% would be to €160.39 per week and by 66% would be to €62.68 per week
3. It is estimated that these measures would require an initial investment of €500m, which would then be subject to review. It is envisioned that funding would increase over time, as part of a move towards long term, sustainable investment in the sector
4. Sinn Féin’s overall policy is to move towards a childcare model which is free at the point of use. This would be transitioned over the course of ten years. Further details are contained in the party’s February 2020 election manifesto