Deputy Tully backs SF reform of the childcare sector to reduce costs

The Government is being urged to reform the childcare sector to be fairer for parents, staff and providers.

Deputy Pauline Tully, Sinn Féin TD for Cavan/Monaghan, is calling on local TDs to supportthe Sinn Féin motion published this week, compelling the Government to enact what it says are long overdue reforms.

“The cost of childcare has been allowed to spiral to eye-watering amounts, which simply aren’t affordable for ordinary families,” she told theCelt, adding that Ireland has some of the highest childcare costs in the EU.

“This is unfair and unsustainable. Without affordable childcare, many parents and mothers in particular, are being forced out of the workplace,” said Deputy Tully.

Sinn Féin’s proposals for the childcare sector include yearly funding increases for the sector to ensure long-term sustainability, as well reducing fees charged to parents.

“It also pledges better pay and working conditions for staff. Workers in the early years sectors are highly qualified and skilled yet are often paid minimum wage. They deserve fair pay,” said Deputy Tully, who’s also calling for the restoration of the 100% wage subsidy scheme to prevent job losses or the closure of some facilities.

The motion is due to come before the Dáil this Thursday.The proposals would see weekly childcare fees reduce by 13% over the course of the first year and by 66% over the course of the lifetime of the government.

The current average weekly cost for one child in full time childcare is €184.36.

Sinn Féin’s overall policy is to move towards a childcare model, which is free at the point of use. This would be transitioned over the course of 10 years.