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Government should focus on real reform of childcare system rather than half-baked 'granny grant’ proposal – Denise Mitchell TD

3 August, 2018 - by Denise Mitchell TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson for Children and Youth Affairs Denise Mitchell TD has said a proposal by Minister Shane Ross for a grant for grandparents who care for their grandchildren is an attempt by the Government to abdicate responsibility for continued failings to bring down the cost of childcare.

Speaking on Friday, Deputy Mitchell said the Government’s time would be better spent coming up with real ways to bring down the cost to parents:

“Childcare costs are absolutely sky-high at the moment, many parents are paying the equivalent of a second mortgage in crèche fees.

"The Independent Alliance’s time would be better spent on bringing forward proposals that will bring these costs down so that every parent who wishes to avail of childcare can do so.

"Instead they appear to be looking at ways in which the state can abdicate its responsibility on this issue.

“We all recognise the important role grandparents play in caring for grandchildren, but this half-baked proposal is simply not a realistic way of tackling a very serious issue.

"Unfortunately decades of Government under-investment in Early Years Services have led us to where we are now.

"We in Sinn Féin showed at Budget 2018 through fully-costed proposals how the cost of childcare for families can be reduced on average by half. A key part of that was through significantly increasing the Universal Childcare Subsidy.

“According to Shane Ross, his so-called ‘granny grant’ would cost €70million. In comparison, based on last year’s figures from the Department of Finance, it would cost €116millionto cut the cost of childcare by an average of half across the board through an increase of the Universal Childcare Subsidy by €2 per-hour.

“The proposal by the Independent Alliance seems to be more about grabbing headlines than about any real attempt to reform our childcare system.”

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