Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Government failing Irish parents

5 August, 2004


Sinn Féin TD Seán Crowe, responding to findings in a survey today, which revealed that 30% of workers now pay more childcare expenses than mortgage costs said: "The cost of childcare has more than doubled from €88 per week on average to about €190 per week in the period covered by the last five Budgets. The state needs to meet its obligations and not rely on the private sector to provide childcare".

The survey also showed that as little as 5 % of respondents are provided with creches in their workplace and that a staggering 63 % admit they would willingly change jobs - and accept a pay cut - to benefit from improved facilities provided by a new employer.

Deputy Crowe said:

"The attitude of this state to childcare stinks. The fact that Leinster House does not have a crèche is symptomatic of the government's attitude to childcare. Even our record on parental leave is dire, falling far below the EU average.

"The cost of childcare has more than doubled from €88 per week on average to about €190 per week in the period covered by the last five Budgets. The increase in Child Benefit, while welcome, goes no way to meeting the rising cost of childcare for working parents. The state should meet its obligations and not rely on the private sector to provide childcare.

"Several groups in the poverty sector have been making the argument for a while now that expensive childcare is just one of the problems which keeps people out of the workforce, perpetuating the vicious circle of poverty.

"Sinn Fein is calling for:

• Government funded childcare facilities

• The establishment of a central unit to co-ordinate government strategy and funding for childcare (£19 million set aside for childcare initiatives was returned unspent to the Exchequer in 2000).

• Paid Parental Leave for employees who pay PRSI. According to the ICTU only 9% of respondents were in a position to avail of Parental Leave in November 2001 and there is no legal obligation on employers to provide paid parental leave.

• The extension of training schemes for childminders in the informal sector.

• Development and extension of after school care facilities.

"Irish people should not have to pay through the nose to have their children cared for when they're out there in the workforce contributing to the Exchequer."ENDS

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