Ireland still has highest childcare fees among OECD countries - Kathleen Funchion TD
Sinn Fein spokesperson for Children, Kathleen Funchion TD, has said a new report confirming that Ireland remains an outlier in funding early years education and childcare is disappointing but not surprising.
Teachta Funchion said:
"Again we see another report from the OECD on early years and childcare in Ireland that shows categorically that fees are too high, that there is an over-reliance on private providers, and that extremely poor pay and conditions for those working in the sector continues.
"While I welcome that steps have been taken by Government to address education levels within the workforce, the report found that pay and working conditions have not caught up with the increasing professionalisation of the workforce and significant focus is needed in training programmes.
"The report states that Ireland still relies on a model that 'creates challenges for access, affordability and quality'.
“I have consistently called for Ireland to move towards a fully publicly funded and managed system. I welcome that these calls have been backed by the findings in yesterday's report.
"The issue of capacity and the imbalance of supply and demand were raised as areas of concern. This confirms what I hear anecdotally on a regular basis. Parents struggle to find places for children in the 0-2.5 years bracket, which has been caused by a concentration of funding in the 2.5-5 age bracket.
"Significant concerns were raised by the authors of this report that Ireland continues to operate a burdensome and overly bureaucratic system that is an administrative nightmare for smaller owner/ operators.
"I hope the Department seriously takes on board the considerable analysis and recommendations in regard to pay. The Government have committed a significant amount of money to the successful completion of the JLC, and while I hope that it is successful and that those working in the sector are finally paid the wages they deserve, we are still some distance from a functioning sector that reduces fees for parents, provides sustainable business environment for owners and properly pays their workforce.”