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Government has offered little but token gestures on childcare – McLellan

30 April, 2015

Speaking following the Spring Statement, Sinn Féin TD and Spokesperson for Children Sandra McLellan has criticised the government for allowing a crisis to develop in the area of childcare in this country. 

Teachta McLellan said:

“The childcare crisis has reached breaking point in this state. Parents, workers and childcare providers have all been calling for immediate attention to be focused on finding lasting quality solutions to tackling the challenges faced within the sector.  Time is of the essence and strategies need to be put in place as of now. 

“At every opportunity, I've asked the Minister when we could expect an update on what's being discussed. We are routinely told that an inter-departmental group of 7 departments and their advisers are working on a plan.  

“Cuts to taxes and an increase to child benefit will provide an extra few euros a week to some people.  Yet, taxes imposed through water charges and on other living standards will ultimately cancel those few euros out. This is why any debate around tax credits for parents for childcare is made redundant.

“This Government pledged last year in their Statement on Government Priorities that in Budget 2015, they will introduce ‘measures to assist low-income families by improving the system of child income supports such that those moving from welfare to work will retain payments for children to ensure that people are better off in work’. We have yet to see any desire to fulfil this promise.

“This Government’s attitude towards childcare and the needs of families has to change. We have to start investing in our youngest children. Token gestures solve nothing in the long term. I am calling on this Government to put investment in quality childcare the attention it deserves.” 

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