Sinn Féin’s spokesperson on Arts, Heritage, Sport & Tourism, Sandra McLellan TD, has this evening called on the government, “to enable all parents to access affordable childcare for their children and to do so within the lifetime of this Dáil.”
McLellan, speaking during a Fianna Fail PMB on childcare, said,
“Good quality childcare which provides positive experiences and promotes children’s opportunities to develop is a starting point for lifelong achievement. Unfortunately that has yet to become the reality for families in Ireland.
“Sinn Féin supports much of what is in this evenings’ PMB, but we will not take lectures from Fianna Fail on childcare.
“In government Fianna Fail did nothing to assist middle and low income families to access quality, affordable child care. In fact it was Fianna Fail, back in 2007, who introduced the Community Childcare Subvention Scheme.
“And now Fianna Fail attacks the Scheme for reinforcing, ‘segregation of children from low income families’.
“Well Fianna Fail must be dizzy from their u-turns.
“The lack of quality, affordable childcare prevents many women who wish to do so from working outside the home.
“There is an urgent need to develop and implement a comprehensive strategy for childcare provision.
“The provision of affordable and quality childcare is one of our priorities.
“But the difference between us and other parties is that when given the opportunity, we actually do deliver.
“In September of last year, Sinn Féin launched “Bright Star”. This is the Northern Assembly’s programme for affordable and integrated childcare.
“Bright Start and the key first actions, aim to address the need for a programme of affordable and integrated childcare.
“We believe this Government should have the following goals and should work to achieve them within the lifetime of this Dáil:
• To support the provision of the best care for all children
• To enable all parents to reconcile their childcare needs with participation in the labour force, education and training
• To enable all parents to access affordable childcare for their children.
• To establish universal state provision of pre-school for all children from the age of three to five years
• To establish a universal provision of early childhood care and education based on the best international models.”