Local Sinn Féin Deputy, Sorca Clarke, has afforded her full support to her party’s motion to reduce the cost of childcare.
The Private Member’s Bill, calls on the government to commit to delivering a state childcare system in Budget 2022. It will also provide fair wages for staff and provide a sustainability fund for providers.
“Sinn Féin brought a motion to the Dáil this week calling on the government to reduce childcare fees by delivering a state childcare system in Budget 2022.
“Childcare fees are far too high. Ireland has some of the highest childcare fees in the world. For many families, it amounts to the same costs as an extra mortgage each and every month.
“Across the state, families are struggling to pay the costs of these eye watering fees.
“Here in Westmeath fees cost on average €176.61 per week for one child. I know that for so many families in our county this simply isn’t affordable. Families in Westmeath and across Ireland deserve better.
“This has to change. It is clear that there is a cost of living crisis in Ireland and too many families are facing huge bills while the government does nothing to help.
“Sinn Féin’s motion also pledges better pay and working conditions for early years and childcare professionals. Those working in the early years sectors are highly qualified and skilled, yet are often paid minimum wage. They deserve fair pay.
“Sinn Féin in government would put money back in parents’ pockets by cutting the cost of childcare fees, addressing the low wages and ensuring providers that are struggling can keep their doors open.
“Budget 2022 is fast approaching and Sinn Féin are calling on the government to cut childcare costs by delivering a state childcare system in the Budget. Our detailed and fully costed proposals would cut fees by one third within the first year and then by two thirds thereafter.
“It would also ensure fairer pay and conditions for early years and childcare professionals, by ensuring they earn at least the living wage.
“I am calling on all TDs to stand up for families, early years professionals and providers and back Sinn Féin’s motion. It’s time to put workers and families first and ensure that the Budget meets their needs,” Deputy Clarke asserted.