Government community childcare scheme cutback in disguise - McDonald
Sinn Féin National Chairperson and Dublin MEP Mary Lou McDonald has today described the Community Childcare Subvention Scheme as a government cutback in disguise.
Ms McDonald said:
“It is no exaggeration to say that there is widespread panic amongst community childcare providers and parents using the service on the impending introduction by government of this new funding scheme. There is no doubt but this is a government cutback in disguise.
“There are very serious problems with the new scheme and this is reflected by childcare providers across the State. It will effectively make it impossible for low income families not in receipt of social welfare benefits or income supplements to access childcare.
“It is predominantly women who are the providers and who most depend on the service for their childcare needs. Access to community childcare has enabled many women to go back to work, especially lone parents. Now these very parents will have this provision pulled from under them, in some instances forcing them out of work.
“Ireland has not just a national obligation to provide accessible childcare, but also a European commitment. We have signed up to an EU pledge to increase access to childcare by 2010. This new scheme flies in the face of this commitment.
“There is a real danger that the new scheme, if implemented in its present form, could lead to an apartheid childcare system. We could have crèches for people on social welfare and crèches for those on higher incomes with low income families totally excluded. This is shameful and an indictment of this governments determination to shed its responsibility to its own people.
“Minister of State for Children Brendan Smith must immediately suspend the introduction of the new scheme, extending the EOCP in the meantime, pending a full root and branch consultation with the community childcare sector.” CRÍOCH