Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Children Robert Troy TD is warning the Government that it is facing a crisis in childcare because it is failing to take action to address spiralling costs. Deputy Troy says escalating crèche and pre-school prices are forcing many parents to give up work because they can no longer afford the extortionate costs.
Speaking ahead of a Fianna Fáil Private Members motion on the issue Deputy Troy commented, “Over the past four years, childcare costs have soared. Many families are paying the equivalent of a second mortgage on child-minding bills, with the average cost for two children standing at €16,500 a year. I have spoken to parents who are under extreme financial pressure and are worried about the implications of rising costs. The current situation is forcing some to consider leaving the workplace to look after their children and ease the financial burden.
“The current Government has done nothing to help hard working parents, or to encourage more parents back into the workplace. In fact, its unwillingness to tackle the issue has exacerbated an already difficult situation. Children’s Minister James Reilly has already ruled out the possibility of a tax credit for working parents, without outlining any alternative proposals. Families across the country are being saddled with huge childcare costs without any reliefs at all.
“More needs to be done to alleviate the pressure on working parents. Fianna Fáil has put forward concrete proposals, which will not only assist low income families, but will also provide a tax credit for middle income earners. Parents should be supported if they choose to stay at work. They are not only providing for their children, they are contributing to the economic recovery.
“Fianna Fáil will present an enhanced childcare policy to the Irish people ahead of the General Election, which will set out a range of measures aimed at easing the financial burden on parents. We want to ensure that parents who want to return to work can do so without being confronted with extortionate childcare fees. Along with a tax credit, Fianna Fáil has proposed a childcare subsidy for families who are above the threshold for the Family Income Supplement.
“This Government has put childcare on the long finger, and the situation is now reaching crisis point. Thousands of families have been hit by Child Benefit cuts, changes to the One Parent Family Payment and a new tax on maternity benefit. These anti-family measures must be offset with childcare supports, and I will be working to ensure that these reliefs will be at the heart of Fianna Fáil’s childcare policy”.