28 June 2021
By Tom Collins
Sinn Féin TD for Cork South Central, Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire, has warned that the government is continuing to fail families through its ongoing failure to address skyrocketing childcare fees despite being in power for a year.
Deputy Ó Laoghaire said:
“Childcare costs are far too high and are simply unaffordable for families on ordinary incomes. The government needs to properly fund the sector, so that childcare fees will go down and families’ finances will get a much-needed break.
“This time last year in their Programme for Government, the coalition announced a series of promises to reform the childcare sector.
“However, we are now a year on and not only have childcare fees not fallen, but they have actually risen even further.
“This failure is letting down families here in Cork who are faced with monthly fees of over €800 per child. Families with more than one child in full time childcare must meet an even more significant financial burden on a monthly basis. Families urgently need childcare fees to go down.
“Parents in Cork are struggling to cope with skyrocketing childcare fees and change needs to happen urgently.
“The Government has dismally failed working parents who need affordable childcare in their first year. Families are crying out for this crisis to be addressed, but the Government isn’t listening.
“The consequences of this childcare crisis are clear. Many parents want to return to work but cannot afford to and so leave their jobs or reduce their hours to stay at home with their children instead. This particularly affects women, who often feel forced to drop out of the workforce and this deepens inequality in our society.
“Sinn Féin in government would prioritise tackling the cost of childcare. We would take on the cost of staff wages, so that fees would go down for parents. This would reduce fees by one third within the first year and then by two thirds over five years. This would be a crucial investment in our children’s futures.
“Childcare should be affordable and it should be accessible locally. It’s a place where children go to learn, develop and grow – that’s why it’s vital we get it right.
“As they mark one year of being in government, the coalition marks a year of failing to act on the childcare crisis. There can be no more delays. They must act and reduce childcare fees to give families a much-needed break.”