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Mary Lou McDonald brands Irish childcare costs "disgraceful"

23 January, 2005

Sinn Féin MEP for Dublin Mary Lou McDonald has branded as 'disgraceful' the results of a report which revealed that childcare costs in Ireland are nearly twice as expensive as in other EU member states.

The draft study, undertaken by the National Economic and Social Council (NESC)confirmed that the cost of sending a 6 months old baby to creche for five days is as high as the average payment on a month's mortgage.

Speaking today Ms McDonald said:

I am deeply concerned about the findings of the draft report by the National Economic and Social Council. On average, Irish parents are spending 20% of their weekly and monthly incomes on child minding costs. The average cost of childminding in other EU member states is around 12% of their weekly/monthly wage. There is an obvious and fundamental inequality between childminding costs in this state and throughout the EU.

"Childcare costs are placing a huge financial strain upon many families throughout the state, especially when these statistics are placed within the context of the spiralling cost of living, especially in the property market.

"One of the most disturbing aspects in all of this, is as far back as April 2004, studies were showing enormous disparities between Ireland and the rest of the European Union. State subsidisation of childcare is pitiful and this Government has some serious questions to answer.

"Sinn Féin is calling for immediate Government funded childcare facilities and the establishment of a central unit to co-ordinate government strategy and funding for childcare. What is needed is quality affordable and accessible childcare. This disgraceful situation cannot be allowed to continue." ENDS

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