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Gildernew backs calls for full access to affordable childcare

29 September, 2003

Sinn Féin Fermanagh South Tyrone MP Michelle Gildernew has backed calls for full access to affordable childcare in the workplace and greater flexibility to challenge the barriers many people, and specifically women face in fully participating in the workforce.

Ms Gildernew said:

"Our record in providing affordable childcare is among the worst in Europe. This means that there is a significant barrier to full participation in the workforce. This barrier is unacceptable.

"The political consensus that has emerged on the important issue of childcare is very positive. Employers have taken important steps to develop employer supported childcare. It is vital that we build on these commitments. The Employers for Childcare objective to enable working parents to fully participate in the workforce deserves to be realised. It will benefit not just employers and parents but also the wider local economy.

"Sinn Féin is fully supportive of the work of the Employers for Childcare in improving childcare options and the development of the employer childcare voucher scheme. There is a role for all our government departments, agencies and as employers, to lead by example in turning around our poor record in the provision of affordable, accessible and reliable childcare places for working parents and also for parents in further and higher education." ENDS

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