Bacik Calls for Radical Vision on Childcare
In advance of delivering the closing remarks at today’s Work Equal event on Childcare, held to mark Equal Pay Day, Labour leader Ivana Bacik TD has outlined the need for a radical vision by Government on childcare and early years education.
Deputy Bacik said:
“Over decades, the failure of successive governments to take responsibility for a national childcare policy has resulted in the emergence of a piecemeal system with the highest proportion of private providers in the OECD. Scarce creche places and soaring childcare costs mean that parents in Dublin are routinely paying as much as €1,000 per month per child.
“High fees and below-average levels of state investment have been accompanied by chronically low wages for those working in the sector. Current childcare policies are failing parents, staff, providers – and ultimately children.
“Now we need to see a radical vision by Government for Childcare. We need serious investment in the development of high quality early-years education, so as to guarantee each child in Ireland a state-funded pre-school place – a radical move but one which is long overdue to make any serious progress towards achieving equality for women in the workplace.
“Ultimately, childcare should be seen as an integral part of a state-funded education system. This is recognised in the ground-breaking report of the Citizens’ Assembly on Gender Equality, which made a series of crucial recommendations around reform of our Childcare system.
“In particular, Recommendation 8 calls for Ireland to move ‘Over the next decade.. to a publicly funded, accessible and regulated model of quality, affordable early years and out of hours childcare.’ The Assembly also called for an increase the State share of GDP spent on childcare, from 0.37% to at least 1% by no later than 2030, in line with UNICEF targets.
“Over the past year, the Special Oireachtas Committee on Gender Equality which I am chairing has been deliberating on how best to ensure implementation of the Assembly recommendations. We will be publishing our report in mid-December and will outline a series of actions to be taken by Government to see a radically changed childcare and early years education system in place within the next decade. A radical vision for childcare is necessary to deliver real change for gender equality in Ireland. “