Fianna Fáil’s spokesperson on Children Robert Troy says the Government needs to take immediate and dramatic action to reduce childcare costs for families. A Eurostat survey found crèche fees in Ireland are amongst the highest in Europe, costing an average of €750 a month per child.
Deputy Troy commented, “Childcare costs have been steadily increasing over the past number of years, with many parents paying the equivalent of a mortgage for crèche facilities. Affordability and accessibility are two of the most common problems faced by parents with young children. Some have been forced to give up work because they simply cannot afford childcare costs and the Government’s lack of action on this issue is completely unacceptable.
“Currently, there is no financial childcare support for low income working families who do not avail of the Community Childcare Subvention Scheme. A report by Indecon Economic Consultancy Group for Donegal County Childcare last year revealed that parents who, on having their second child, are forced to leave work if their income is just marginally above the band for Family Income Supplement. The average annual cost of full time childcare for a family with two children is €16,500, which is simply inaccessible for a high percentage of working parents. The Minister has failed to come up with any tangible solution to drive down the cost of childcare and the issue appears to have fallen off the agenda.
“Earlier this year, Fianna Fáil brought forward a motion to introduce a range of measures to support working families including changes to Family Income Supplement and a Community Childcare Subvention Scheme to reduce the punishing childcare costs faced by many families. There are more than 400,000 households with children under the age of 10 and the Indecon report revealed that childcare costs disproportionately affect low income families in terms of looking for employment.
“This Eurostat report reinforces the fact that parents cannot afford these services and it is time for Government action. Since it came into office this Government has made life more difficult for parents; it has done nothing to address the issue of high childcare costs and instead has reduced the income available to parents by cutting child benefit payments and taxing maternity benefit”.