Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Children Robert Troy has called on the Government to prioritise investment in childcare in the upcoming budget.
Deputy Troy made the comments following the publication of a report by Chambers Ireland which shows how the exorbitant cost of childcare is preventing mothers from returning to the workplace.
“The report issued by Chambers Ireland confirms what we have been highlighting over the last number of years. It’s clear that the cost of childcare is far too excessive and is a huge burden on young families. The situation has gotten out of hand due to a lack of investment in and commitment to the childcare sector,” said Deputy Troy.
“Today’s report shows us that young mothers are unable to return to the workplace because they cannot access childcare due exorbitant costs. This is leading to a loss in skills and talent and is only serving to undermine the economy in the long run. Women should not be expected to have to forgo access to work should they decide to start a family.
“Fianna Fáil has been pushing for an overhaul of the childcare sector in recent years, but the Government has been slow to act. We are 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. 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 put forward a range of solutions with the core aim of reliving the stress on parents, the workforce and service providers. We are proposing to significantly ramp up investment by expanding the Community Childcare Subvention scheme by 22%. This will ensure that an additional 5,500 children from low-income families get the childcare they deserve.
“We will also introduce a second free pre-school year for children aged 2-3 years. This will help ensure that children achieve their full potential from an early age. Fianna Fáil is also proposing to introduce a Childcare Support Credit targeted at low and middle income families to ease the cost of childcare on working families.
“Fine Gael and Labour have shown little interest in reforming the childcare sector in recent years. In contrast, Fianna Fáil has advanced reasonable proposals which will open up access to affordable childcare and will allow mothers who choose to return to the workplace to do so.