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New Early Years proposals would deliver for children, workers and parents – Kathleen Funchion TD

1 October, 2019 - by Kathleen Funchion TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Children & Youth Affairs Kathleen Funchion TD has said her party’s Alternative Budget proposals called for "a complete restructuring of the Childcare & Early Years system".

Sinn Féin has today published proposals that would put children’s interests front and centre by prioritising quality, and by improving the working conditions for staff, while at the same time cutting childcare costs for parents. 

Speaking following the Alternative Budget 2020 launch today in Dublin, the Carlow/Kilkenny TD said:

“A radical new approach is needed for our Childcare & Early Years sector. The current system is broken and completely unsustainable for staff and is financially crippling for so many parents. 

“Sinn Féin would commence a five-year transformational programme of Childcare & Early Years reform that ensures Childcare & Early years staff are properly paid, and that fees are slashed for parents - €28m in the first year (full year €85m).

“Our Alternative Budget published today outlines our proposals which aim to reduce fees across the state for parents significantly over a five-year period.

“We would start with a reduction of 13% in the first full year, increasing to a 66% reduction by end of year five. 

“This would amount to a cut on average of €100 per month on a monthly crèche fee of €800 initially. 

“We would achieve this through direct financial support for all centre-based providers that choose to opt in to a new childcare system.

“We would introduce a proper pay scale for all workers in the sector, regardless of level, starting with the current Living Wage of €12.30 upon entry level. 

“This would increase year upon year over a five-year period.

“If we expect high quality education and care, as well as a high standard in the delivery of those services to our children, then we need to address the unfair working conditions of staff. 

“It’s common sense – if we expect staff to work above and beyond their duty for minimum or below minimum wage, the end result will not always be in the best interests of the child. 

“Sinn Féin believes another way is possible to end the spiralling costs while at the same time create an Early Years sector that values and pays staff accordingly while delivering high quality education and care for all children.” 

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