Sinn Féin presents a costed plan for childcare, Labour produces another election gimmick – Mitchell
Sinn Féin Cllr. Denise Mitchell has dismissed the Labour party’s childcare policies as “a cheap election gimmick designed in an attempt to win votes from the very people that the Labour Party has let down for five years”. The councillor for the Beaumont Donaghmede ward of Dublin City Council continued by saying that “Sinn Féin will improve the childcare system in a number of different ways”.
Cllr. Mitchell said:
“Having cut child benefit twice during her term of office Joan Burton incredibly tried to take credit for partially reversing those cuts ahead of the election. It is cynical in the extreme to expect adulation for giving back a fraction of what she cruelly snatched away in the first place.
“And now they are promising the world with a manifesto based on money that it has been shown they do not have. The simple truth is that Labour’s promises are worth as much as they were in 2011, nothing.
“The Tánaiste could not answer a simple question that was put to her in the Dáil about the costings of her childcare proposals which she produced miraculously before an election after five years in government.
“In my own view, this is just a cheap election gimmick designed in an attempt to win votes from the very people that the Labour Party has let down for five years.
“The average cost of childcare is €310 per week per child across the state. In Dublin, it is even higher. One study conducted last year found that having two children in childcare in many parts of Dublin would cost a family €27,000 per year. Almost half the workforce earns less than this.
“Sinn Féin will improve the childcare system in a number of different ways. We will make childcare more affordable by introducing a cap on fees at €180 a week, dropping down in time to €150. As the current average cost of childcare per month is €1,100 this means that families will save up to €4,560 a year per child.
“We wish to improve the quality of care also, to enable the progression of current childcare workers to level seven and eight qualifications. This would be achieved by extending the learner fund by €80million over five years with the aim of having a 60% degree led workforce by 2025.
“We will increase the capitation grants of the free pre-school year by €5 a week and we will provide an additional 1,000 Special Needs Assistants in Early Childhood Care and Education. We will also extend the ECCE scheme to 48 weeks which means a further reduction the childcare bill as well as greater security to childcare workers on short contracts.
“We are serious about our commitments and we will deliver on them if we are given a mandate to do so.
“Sinn Féin will produce a fully costed, deliverable and comprehensive childcare policy next week. And, unlike the Labour Party, we will deliver on our promises to the electorate if we win a mandate to do so.”