Pat Buckley TD stands in solidarity with childcare sector at rally for reform
Sinn Féin TD for Cork East, Pat Buckley TD, has demanded that the government adequately fund the childcare sector and reduce the cost of childcare for families.
Teachta Buckley was speaking today after the No Child Left Behind rally outside Leinster House.
Teachta Buckley said:
“I am proud to be standing in solidarity today with childcare sector workers as they demand better funding for childcare at this rally outside Leinster House. Politicians must listen and act.
“Childcare is severely under-funded and under-resourced in Ireland. Children and their parents are being failed by this lack of funding by the government.
“We know that in Cork far too many families are struggling to keep on top of sky high childcare costs. In Cork county, it costs on average €202.30 per week for one child to be in childcare full time. This simply isn’t affordable for most families.
“The National Childcare Scheme announced in 2019 was heralded by the government as an attempt to improve this situation but it in fact negatively impacted thousands of children from disadvantaged and marginalised backgrounds.
“These children and their families were previously supported under targeted schemes which recognised that children from some families require additional supports to provide equity of access, opportunity and participation.
“However, the new scheme transitioned from a child centred approach to a labour activation model, where unemployed parents and carers are entitled to fewer or no subsidised hours of childcare for their children compared to children of working parents or parents in education or training.
“This is an appalling situation which results in the state discriminating against children in a bid to motivate their parents into employment and education.
“The government has been turning a blind eye to this crisis in childcare for too long. We must have a properly funded and resourced system which is accessible for families. Access must be fair and meet families’ needs.
“Later today, Sinn Féin will be introducing our motion in the Dáil which will call on the government to finally address this crisis in Budget 2022. Sinn Féin are proposing a state model, which would see the government take on the cost of staff wages, in order to reduce fees for parents.
“Our proposals would see fees be cut by one third in the first year, and then by two thirds subsequently. This would ensure fees could be affordable for families and put money back into parents’ pockets.
“Our proposals would also ensure fairer pay and conditions for staff by ensuring they are paid the living wage. They are highly qualified staff who perform a vital job, yet this isn’t reflected in their current pay.
“I am calling on all TDs to back Sinn Féin’s motion tonight and reduce childcare costs for parents in Cork and across the state.”