Fianna Fáil has hit out at the Government for failing to take any action to tackle the rising childcare costs that are strangling many young families across the country.
The party’s Spokesperson on Children Robert Troy was speaking at the Fianna Fáil think-in in Sutton, Co Dublin today. He said it is unacceptable that Ireland now has the highest childcare costs in Europe, leaving families in an impossible position and pricing many parents out of the workplace.
“The lack of State support for families in the area of childcare is inexcusable. It has left us in a situation where we have the highest childcare costs in Europe, exceeding mortgage payments as the largest household bill for many families. The exorbitant cost of childcare is blocking many highly qualified, willing-to-work parents from the workplace as they simply cannot afford the crèche fees. This is costing the State far more in the long-run,” said Deputy Troy.
“This is yet another example of how this Government has ignored the squeezed middle – ordinary hard-working families who are at their wits end with endless outgoings and have little or no support from the State. Labour and Fine Gael have not taken a single step to help ease the burden of childcare costs or address standards in the sector.
“Fianna Fáil is the only party that has published an extensive and fully-costed policy on childcare and is committed to taking radical steps to address costs and regulation of the sector. We recognise the enormous burden that high cost childcare is placing on families throughout the country. At the heart of our proposals is ensuring that quality childcare is affordable for families now and not at some time into the future.
This includes the introduction of a Childcare Support Credit to cover 20% to 40% of a family’s childcare costs, depending on their income.
“With an election looming, the Government is now engaged in shameless kite-flying exercise on childcare. The only action we have seen from Labour is a recent online survey on the party’s website asking people for their views. This is pure tokenism and a desperate attempt to salvage votes. After 4 and a half years of empty rhetoric and total disinterest in this issue, parents and childcare operators are finding it hard to stomach. They need action right now. Not a promise of action in years to come when it’s too late to help those who need relief immediately.”