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Keep up pressure on Government over childcare - Ó Caoláin

15 September, 2005

Sinn Féin Dáil leader and spokesperson on Health and Children Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin has urged people to keep up the pressure on the Government over childcare following the statement from Minister of State Frank Fahey that the planning laws could be amended to require developers to provide sites for childcare facilities, rather than giving them tax breaks for agreeing to build facilities as part of their developments.

Deputy Ó Caolain said the Government had voted down a Sinn Féin proposal in the Dáil last November to amend the planning laws to facilitate childcare: "The pressure on the Government is now beginning to have effect and should be maintained." Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

"The National Women‚s Council has this week published comprehensive proposals for the provision of childcare and I welcome them wholeheartedly. Similar proposals were made in a Sinn Féin Private Members motion on childcare in the Dáil last November. On that occasion the Government parties voted down the motion which included a call for the planning laws to be amended to require developers to provide for childcare facilities. Now Minister Fahey seems to be indicating a change of heart.

"We need to see the colour of the Government‚s money on this issue. A generation of children and parents are being denied the support they need and deserve - support that this economy can afford to provide. Indeed, if we are to prosper, we cannot afford not to provide proper care for children.

"Promises have been made to address childcare in the forthcoming Budget, something the Minister for Finance failed to do in Budget 2005. Half-measures are not enough. The pressure is beginning to have effect on the Government and I urge everyone concerned with the vital issue of childcare to keep up that pressure in advance of Budget 2006." ENDS

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