O’Donoghue seeks financial support for childcare sector

Limerick Independent Ireland TD Richard O'Donoghue

THE Government must lend further assistance to childcare providers in order to ensure its viability, according to Limerick politician Richard O’Donoghue.

The Rural Ireland Independent made the comments during recent a Sinn Féin motion on Childcare Fees, which called on the Government to cut childcare fees by two thirds and the allocation of further funding to provide “fair pay” in the sector.

Deputy O’Donoghue claimed that the Government has done the same thing to early childcare providers that it did to elder care providers in this country.

“It helped to close down providers of elder care in the form of small nursing homes and now it is doing the same in respect of early care of children. Childcare providers are under pressure because of inflation and that is happening as a result of all the decisions made by the Government, which have made it impossible to provide a service,” he said.

“The impact of the inflation the Government has caused on people’s wages is causing these businesses to close. As we heard, nearly 100 closed down last year. A total of 200 small nursing homes have closed down, all because of decisions of the Government.

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“Parents must ask grandparents to mind their children and can only send them into childcare one or two days a week. That is having a knock-on effect on the ability of businesses to stay open. It all goes back to decisions the Government has made.”

The Government, Deputy O’Donoghue continued, is not just punishing children coming into this world, it is also punishing people who are at the end of their time and are leaving this world. I hope the Minister can sit with his conscience, knowing what he has voted for and what he has caused in this country.”

In response, Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration, and Youth, Roderic O’Gorman, said he is absolutely committed to continuing a programme of investment, reform, and expansion to deliver lower costs for parents, ensure sustainability for providers and better wages for the women and men in childcare professions.

In a move to that he believes will help many families, Deputy O’Donoghue’s Rural Independent Group had sought, in its Pre-Budget submission, the abolition of the Universal Service Charge (USC).

“Scrapping the USC offers substantial relief to hard-working individuals and reflects overwhelming public support,” O’Donoghue said.