Taoiseach’s childcare comments out of step with working families’ reality

Ivana Bacik TD
19 June 2023
  • Universal childcare crucial for economic equality

Labour leader Ivana Bacik has criticised comments made by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar on cutting childcare costs.

Deputy Bacik said:

“The Taoiseach has poured cold water over cuts to childcare fees in Budget 2024, despite working parents crying out for financial help and support as prices continue to rise and spaces become fewer and far between.

“Childcare needs urgent reform in this country. High fees and below-average levels of State investment, a lack of availability of places for children, and low wages for those working in the sector persist.

“Rather than floating meaningless tax cuts, Varadkar should focus on improving terms and conditions for families and workers in the sector. The childcare system is in crisis.

“The Labour Party want to introduce a publicly funded, universal and affordable childcare scheme which would be accessible to all.

“Critically, it would require the State to invest in the staff who care for and nurture our children. Childcare workers carry out the most important, fundamental role in our young childrens’ lives. They must be remunerated accordingly.

“Childcare should be seen as an integral part of a State-funded education system. We take for granted that the state has a responsibility to educate our children through primary and second-level.

“There is no good reason to abdicate this duty during a child’s earliest – and most impressionable – years.

“There is a lot more to do to bring our care system in Ireland up to scratch. Caring and childcare responsibilities still fall predominantly on women in Ireland, which limits women’s employment opportunities. A cost effective, accessible childcare model would give women the chance and the choice to work.

“Investment in State-led, universal, high-quality child care is needed now – not tax cuts.”

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