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Sinn Féin will deliver affordable, accessible and quality childcare – McDonald

6 February, 2016 - by Mary Lou McDonald TD


Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald speaking in Cabra this morning said “Sinn Féin’s priority in government is to give working families a break. Childcare costs have gone through the roof over the last five years and Sinn Féin has a fully costed plan to deliver affordable, accessible and quality childcare.”  She went on to say “It is clear from recent days that the manifestos of Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Labour need to be put in the bin as they have cooked the books and they do not have the money to deliver what they are promising.  We need an honest debate in this election.”

 Deputy McDonald said;

 “Sinn Féin’s priority in government is to give working families a break and our fully costed policies have been designed with that in mind.

 “Childcare costs have gone through the roof over the last five years and Sinn Féin has a fully costed plan to deliver affordable, accessible and quality childcare.

 “Unlike Labour’s childcare plan, ours is fully costed and workable. For too long governments have paid lip service to the notion of affordable childcare. After five years of Fine Gael and Labour in government we have yet to see them produce a plan which is realistic, affordable and accessible to all.

 “Sinn Féin will improve the childcare system in a number of different ways. We will make childcare more affordable by introducing a cap on fees at €180 a week, dropping down in time to €150.  As the current average cost of childcare per month is €1,100 this means that families will save up to €4,560 a year per child.

 “We would also introduce a six week extension to maternity leave, eventually increasing parental leave to 52 weeks over the government term.  We would also increase the rate of maternity benefit to paid mothers beginning with a use to €260 a week.

 “We wish to improve the quality of care also, to enable the progression of current childcare workers to level seven and eight qualifications.  This would be achieved by extending the learner fund by €80million over five years with the aim of having a 60% degree led workforce by 2025.

 “We will increase the capitation grants of the free pre-school year by €5 a week and we will provide an additional 1,000 Special Needs Assistants in Early Childhood Care and Education.  We will also extend the ECCE scheme to 48 weeks which means a further reduction the childcare bill as well as greater security to childcare workers on short contracts.

“We are serious about our commitments and we will deliver on them if we are given a mandate to do so.

“It is clear from recent days that the manifestos of Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Labour need to be put in the bin as they have cooked the books and they do not have the money to deliver what they are promising.  We need an honest debate in this election.” 

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