Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Government must prioritise childcare in Budget

13 October, 2004

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health and Children Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has called on the Government to prioritise childcare in the forthcoming Budget in the wake of a survey published today which shows the high cost of childcare places and the low pay levels for childcare workers. The survey was published by the National Children's Nurseries Association.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

"This survey is a wake-up call for the Government. We have an underdeveloped and inequitable childcare system in this State. The cost of childcare places is high and excludes many parents on low incomes. Lack of adequate childcare is one of the main factors restricting the participation of women in the workforce, which remains at just under 50%.

"This Government tolerates low pay for childcare workers, does little or nothing to assist parents with the cost of places and relies almost totally on inadequate EU funding to resource the development of our childcare infrastructure.

"The Government must prioritise childcare in the forthcoming Budget. It should adopt a comprehensive approach which assists parents with the cost of childcare, extends the infrastructure and targets in particular children and parents on lowincome. It must also address the particular needs of parents in rural areas."ENDS

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