SINN Féin TD Maurice Quinlivan for Limerick City has called on the Government to back the party’s plans to reform the childcare sector to be fairer for parents, staff and providers.
Deputy Quinlivan called on all TDs in the area to support the Sinn Féin motion compelling the Government to enact what they consider long-overdue reforms.
Speaking in the Dáil yesterday, July 21, Deputy Quinlivan said the cost of childcare has been allowed “eye-watering amounts” which he says “aren’t affordable for ordinary families”.
“Ireland has some of the highest childcare costs in the EU,” the Sinn Féin Deputy noted, describing the costs as “unfair and unsustainable”.
Deputy Quinlivan said parents and mothers, in particular, are “being forced out of the workplace” without affordable childcare.
He said, “Affordable childcare makes sense and is an economic necessity. Without it, skilled workers will be forced from the workplace. In this state the cost of childcare on average is €184.36 per week or €744 every four weeks.
“To be clear, the childcare system is not just a difficulty for the families of the children. The childcare system is unfair on staff. Working in childcare is not an easy job.
“Aside from the qualifications and skills required, there is a temperament needed. The workers are often paid little more than the minimum wage. How can we expect these skilled professionals to make childcare a long term career choice?
“We can’t. Every year we lose more childcare professionals who must switch careers for opportunities in other sectors.“
Commenting afterward he stated his party brought an “ambitious and comprehensive plan for the childcare sector” forward.
“It includes yearly funding increases for the sector to ensure long-term sustainability, as well as reducing fees charged to parents to ensure lower, fairer costs for families,” said Deputy Quinlivan.
The Sinn Féin Deputy said the plan also pledges better pay and working conditions for staff.
“Workers in the early years sectors are highly qualified and skilled, yet are often paid little more then the minimum wage. They deserve fair pay.”
The Limerick TD noted the pandemic wage subsidy scheme was “crucial for the childcare sector”.
“But as it comes to an end, after already being reduced to 85 per cent, we face an even bigger crisis- increased fees, lower wages and potential closure of facilities which will only worsen the childcare crisis. That’s why we have called for the restoration of the 100% wage subsidy scheme to prevent this from happening.”