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Economy is undermined by lack of childcare

29 October, 2004


The Dáil will next week debate a motion from the Sinn Féin TDs calling on the Government to put in place comprehensive childcare services and to extend paid maternity and paternity leave for working parents. The motion also highlights the long delays being experienced by community crèches in receiving capital grants from the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform which is responsible for childcare.

"Childcare is clearly not a priority for Minister McDowell and should be taken out of his hands", said Sinn Féin Dáil leader and spokesperson on Health and Children Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin.

Publishing the motion today he said, "The Government's failure to put in place comprehensive childcare services is a cause of hardship for children and parents and a real obstacle to the development of the economy. Women are being prevented from entering the workforce, education and training and as a result our society and our economy are losing out. In fact the whole economy and its potential for further development is being undermined by the lack of childcare.

"Childcare places are in short supply and are unaffordable for many parents. The services are not properly co-ordinated and the quality of childcare varies widely. People in disadvantaged communities are especially badly effected. The Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform is nominally responsible but this is clearly not a priority for Minister McDowell.

"Sinn Féin is calling for an immediate reversal of this Government's cutting of the Creche Supplement and VTOS childcare supports. We are also calling for extended maternity and paternity leave. We want to see a comprehensive system put in place which allows parents who wish to do so to enter the workforce, education or training and to be assured of quality care for their children."

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