Budget 2024 childcare package must deliver new childcare facilities

07 October 2023
  • Labour survey of parents on Northside shows severe shortages with one in three parents waiting 12 months or longer to access creche place

Labour Senator Marie Sherlock had said the Budget 2024 childcare package must include provision for new childcare places.

Speaking in advance of Budget day October 10th, Senator Sherlock said there is a severe shortage of childcare places within Dublin.

Senator Sherlock said:

“Every week we have parents tell us of the enormous stress they face trying to access a childcare place. The reality is that we have a major shortage of buildings suitable for childcare facilities.

“The situation in Stoneybatter this summer where two preschools with 105 pre school places between them, were forced to close because of a lack of an alternative suitable location in Dublin 7 is a very sad example of that.

“This summer, we surveyed parents across Dublin 1, 3, 7, 9 and 11 and got 102 detailed responses to our five detailed questions.

“The results show that 53% of parents reported actively searching for a place for 6 or more months.

“One in three parents faced a  shocking wait of 12 months or more with many parents reporting that they had to wait up to two years before accessing a place.

“Crucially, 20% of parents in the survey told us they had to abandon their search and resort to other alternatives not of their choosing such as relying on family, cutting back on work or taking on a much more expensive option such as a childminder in the home.

“In our survey we also asked whether parents had to change their work arrangements in response to the childcare situation. 

“42% of parents reported cutting back on work hours and seeking flexibilities in order to make their childcare arrangements work.

“21% of the parents in our survey told us one of the parents were forced to give up work. We see that this trend relates to the very severe shortage of childcare for babies under the age of one.

“We know this issue is not confined to this part of Dublin but applies right across the city.

“Despite our appeals to date, no one has been willing to take responsibility between the Department of Children and Local Authorities.

“We need to see Government action.

“Labour’s alternative budget provided €65m for the creation of 5000-6000 childcare places under our public childcare proposals.

“The early years package in Budget 2024 will rightfully focus on fees and supports to children with a disability. We’re calling on the Minister to ensure new places can be created and staffed by early years educators on decent incomes.”

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