The childcare system in Ireland is in crisis. Held together by subsidies to private companies, tax credits and grants, parents can barely afford crippling fees, and too many workers are poorly paid.
The Labour Party want to introduce a publicly funded, universal and affordable childcare scheme which would be accessible to all. It would require the State to invest in the staff who care for and nurture our children.
In a State funded model, Early Years workers would be paid by the state as their colleagues in the Primary and Secondary sector currently are.
In our vision for a universal public childcare system, all children would be guaranteed a place in a service close to their home, guaranteed by the time their caregiver returns to work. The service would include flexible drop-off times and collection to reflect modern work practices and commute times, and would be based on best practice for education, play and early learning.
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. State-led, universal, high-quality child care is needed now.