THE new coalition government has come under fire from a local deputy for failing to support a childcare motion that would cut fees by 66% reduction over the lifetime of the administration.
Deputy Violet-Anne Wynne has described the defeat of a Sinn Féin childcare motion in the Dáil last week as “hugely disappointing” and an example of the “same old politics”.
If the Sinn Féin Childcare motion had passed, Deputy Wynne outlined the proposals would have seen weekly childcare fees reduced 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, therefore a reduction of 13% would be to €160.39 per week and by 66% would be to €62.68 per week.
The Sinn Féin Deputy said their motion presented the government with a chance to be ambitious to respond to the cries from childcare providers, staff and parents.
“For too long the fees have risen and for some it is as costly as a second mortgage. This was their chance to put this right.
“I am afraid that the government are too detached from reality that our citizens are desperately trying to cope with and the truth is this people are struggling and were struggling before the Covid-19 health pandemic.
“This is not the change that people voted for in February and I know that people in Clare are disappointed.
“The cost of childcare has been allowed to spiral to eye-watering amounts which simply aren’t affordable for ordinary families.
“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,” she said.
Sinn Féin’s overall policy is to move towards a childcare model which is free at the point of use.
It includes yearly funding increases for the sector to ensure long-term sustainability, as well reducing fees charged to parents to ensure lower, fairer costs for families.