Affordable childcare makes social and economic sense – Reilly
Sinn Féin Senator Kathryn Reilly today raised the issue of childcare costs in Ireland given that European Commission working documents have continuously recommended the provision of affordable full-time childcare.
Senator Reilly stated:
“We have a situation in Ireland where childcare remains unaffordable and out of the reach of many families in the country. A survey of over 150 crèches carried out by the Irish Independent newspaper highlighted the astonishingly high cost of childcare around the state. A European Commission staff working document earlier this year noted that as a percentage of wages, childcare costs in Ireland are higher than any other EU country.
“Earlier in the year, another document noted that "access to full-time childcare in Ireland remains limited and expensive, which is a barrier to female and single-parent participation in the labour market." Therefore one of the Country Specific Recommendations (CSR) outlined for Ireland was the necessity for the government to take steps to increase access to affordable full-time childcare.
“Unfortunately, those steps have not been taken by the government and we have been left with a situation where childcare costs are so high that many parents who wish to work cannot do so because it is not financially feasible.
“I know in the Cavan and Monaghan area parents often have to travel long distances to avail of childcare facilities and thereafter travel the opposite direction for work. All these expenses add up for parents and can make balancing work and raising a family extremely difficult.
“However, the provision of affordable childcare would immensely benefit Ireland socially and economically. A concentrated government approach on providing affordable childcare would help parents commit to full or part-time work, contributing to a healthy work life balance that benefits all.
“We as a nation need progressive policies which benefit children and families and by extension benefit Ireland as a whole.”