Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Children Robert Troy TD has said the Government is failing families who are struggling to cope with exorbitant childcare costs. Deputy Troy made the comments following the publication of a Government report aimed at setting out a framework for the development of childcare in Ireland.

Deputy Troy commented, “Finally the Government is acknowledging that significant investment is needed in our childcare sector to relieve pressure on struggling parents. This is something that Fianna Fáil has been consistently highlighting over the last four years. It should not take a fast approaching General Election for the Government to wake up and realise the difficulties being experienced by countless families regarding exorbitant childcare costs. The time for reports is over. Struggling families need action now to help drive down the cost of unaffordable childcare.

“The contents of the report does not inspire me with any confidence. First and foremost the report acknowledges that the Government “will need considerable additional work in order to prepare detailed plans for implementation, specific rules for the schemes and more detailed costings.”

“This is simply not good enough for the struggling families that need assistance now. The timeline for the rollout of the new measures lacks any specific timeline and offers little hope for families who are struggling to get by day to day due to high childcare costs. The lack of clear funding commitments from the Government is also alarming. Just last week the Labour party was scrambling to tell us how they have formed an internal working group to address growing childcare costs. Did the Labour party have any input into this report, considering it lacks any concrete proposals?

“It is disappointing that the Government is flat out rejecting the notion of introducing a tax relief scheme to help families that are struggling with their childcare costs. The introduction of such a scheme would lead to a significant reduction in childcare costs and would provide a safety net for parents who want to get back into the workforce.

“Fianna Fáil is the only party that has published detailed costed policy proposals, accompanied with a timeframe for implementation, to help drive down the cost of childcare. 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.

“Our proposals include the introduction of a Childcare Support Credit targeted at low and middle income families to ease the cost of childcare on working families. This support credit will cover 20 per cent to 40 per cent of a family’s childcare costs, depending on their income.

“It is unfortunate that the Government has left it so late in the lifetime of the current Dáil to take action to address escalating childcare costs. Minister Reilly should study the Fianna Fáil proposals if he wants to ensure that the high cost of childcare is addressed promptly.”