Families need dramatic reduction in childcare costs – Matt Carthy TD
Cavan Monaghan Sinn Féin TD, Matt Carthy, last week challenged the Minister for Children on the progress made by government in reducing the cost of childcare and improving conditions for early years educators.
Speaking as Sinn Féin published the party’s childcare policy that sets out how childcare fees can be cut by two thirds for families Deputy Carthy asked the Minister to outline the steps taken by government to date.
Deputy Carthy criticised the government’s failure to adequately support families with childcare costs or to ensure that childcare professionals are adequately paid.
On the government’s stated intention to freeze childcare costs, Carthy said:
“Families do not need to see their childcare costs frozen; they need to see them reduced dramatically.
“Sinn Féin has launched a document, Delivering Affordable Childcare, which outlines how we, in government, would reduce fees by two thirds. That is the type of support families and workers need in the here and now. Ireland has higher childcare rates than almost anywhere else in Europe.
“In that context, it is an absolute travesty that the very professional and well-qualified workers in the sector are among the lowest paid of any of those with similar educational attainments.
“This needs to be dealt with by the Government setting a wage scale, in the same way as the Department of Education does for teachers and as operates in other areas as well.
“In our alternative budget last year, Sinn Féin outlined mechanisms that would improve the pay and conditions of people working in the childcare sector and reduce childcare costs for families and workers. None of those things has happened. Many would argue that whatever was in the Government’s budget amounted to a stunt. Childcare costs have not come down and the pay and conditions of workers in the sector have not improved”.
Sinn Féin’s childcare policy can be viewed on the party’s website www.sinnfein.ie