Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Children Robert Troy has warned the Government that kite-flying on childcare reform must be backed up by real action in Budget 2016
Deputy Troy commented, “The Government has spent the past 4 years ignoring the extreme pressures on working families when it comes to juggling childcare. Despite repeated warnings about the fact that exorbitant childcare costs in Ireland are a barrier to work for many parents, absolutely nothing has been done to help ease this burden in the interests of both families and the economy.
“In fact, this Government has actually made it more expensive to raise children. They betrayed voters by cutting child benefit. They taxed maternity benefit, hitting working mothers right in the pocket. They cut the back to school allowance. They cut the capitation paid to pre-school providers. Far from supporting working parents and childcare providers, they allowed the situation to get worse.
“Ireland has among the highest childcare costs in the OECD. In many households, the cost of childcare exceeds mortgage payments as the largest monthly bill. The reality is that childcare costs are strangling many young families in Ireland, to the point that some parents who want to work simply have no choice but to leave the workplace. This costs the State more in the long-run as many of these parents, most of whom are women, get trapped in long-term unemployment.
“While the Government has been ignoring the problem, Fianna Fáil has prioritised this issue in pre-budget submissions and we have engaged extensively with parents, childcare providers and interest groups to formulate concrete proposals that will make a real difference to working parents. We will publish a comprehensive and fully-costed plan in the coming weeks that builds on our previously published proposals.
“People have become all too familiar with this Government using a Dáil recess to pull PR stunts and fly kites about important issues. But making childcare more affordable is far too important to get lost in a kite-flying exercise. It’s two years since the Early Years Strategy was supposed to be published and we are still none the wiser about any real strategies that Fine Gael and Labour may have on childcare reform. It’s time for the Government to get real and start supporting working parents.”