The Fianna Fáil Leader on Dublin City Council has outlined details of his party’s plans to cut the cost of childcare for working families across Dublin.
Speaking at the Fianna Fáil Ard Fheis in the RDS at the weekend, the Finglas Councillor highlighted the urgent need to support parents who cannot afford to work and pay childcare bills. He also emphasised the need for funding for the sector to ensure that children get the best start possible in our childcare facilities.
“As a father of two children from Finglas and the board member of community crèche in Ballymun, I know just how much pressure there is on parents who are struggling with meeting childcare costs. I also know the pressure that’s on the childcare facilities themselves as they strive to provide a safe, happy and educational environment for all our children,” said Cllr McAuliffe.
“This week when I meet other parents at the school gate, I know that in Fianna Fáil’s proposals on childcare announced at the weekend have the power to make a real difference to their lives. We are proposing a childcare tax credit to give parents back some of the cost of childcare and we will introduce a second free pre-school year for all children. We also want to extend paid maternity leave by a month initially, with plans to extend it further in the coming years. And we are proposing to allow parents to share paid maternity leave, so that fathers can take time out of work too if they wish.
“Supporting young families pressed to the pin of their collars is only one half of this plan. Fianna Fáil also wants proper public investment in the system that cares for pre-school children. For too long the pre-school sector has been under-resourced and under-recognised. Providers are struggling in terms of the resources they receive from government to operate the ECCE scheme. During the last four years pre-schools have experienced reduced capitation levels and are subject to an inspection system that isn’t fit for purpose.
“This reduction in funding has a direct impact on the 25,000 staff employed in the childcare sector. Because of the pressure on providers, childcare workers are being paid too little for the crucial work they provide. Staff in the sector have little job security and few opportunities to pursue training or professional development. And these are the people who we are trust to care for the next generation.
“Fianna Fáil’s is proposing to increase the number of pre-school places for children from disadvantaged families and support the greater integration of children with disabilities into mainstream early childhood services. It is high time that the Government started to recognise the severe pressures on families and childcare providers. This must be a top priority in Budget 2015.”