Public Childcare model needed as costs spiral for parents
5 June 2021
Spokesperson on the Enviroment and Climate; Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth
Responding to the Irish Independent report that parents are facing increased childcare costs of up to 20%, Labour spokesperson Ivana Bacik said there was an urgent need for a public childcare option, and called on the government to act.
Senator Bacik said:
“Childcare price increases of 20% are simply unsustainable for parents. It demonstrates again why we urgently need a public childcare model.
With approximately 300,000 children in the 0-4 age group, and around two-thirds of them using some form of childcare service at present there is a major public policy crisis emerging. In 2020 we put forward plans for the phased introduction of a truly universal public childcare system and I am calling on Government to again commit to this aim and to take the necessary steps involving increased funding and resourcing of the childcare and Early Years sector.
“With costs for parents rapidly increasing while wages for professional staff in the sector remain stagnant, there must be a public policy response.
“The Minister says increases of this magnitude are not justified, but parents have no real alternative to the private for profit model because of a failure by the State to act. The Labour Party has proposed a new public childcare model. Parents should never have to choose between their children and their job. The costs to parents would be moderate and set at the EU average level of childcare costs.
“After the pandemic there must be a social recovery with real progress on building sustainable communities and I’ve called for public spending to be vastly increased provision of affordable housing; on decent healthcare, childcare and social care, on investment in education, on public amenities and on tackling climate change.
“Care is a huge issue – so many people that I have met over the last few weeks and months have spoken with me about their difficulties in accessing quality affordable childcare.
“Parents, workers and providers all need clarity on this now. The costs to parents and status of workers, many of whom live on less than the living wage is a constant issue. Let’s give them the answers they deserve by working together on real solutions.”