McNelis calls for Ireland to adopt universal public childcare system

SIPTU research shows 30 per cent of childcare workers are earning less than before the pandemic

Women's participation in the workforce remains low because of "Ireland’s unaffordable childcare costs", and it will go lower unless the State introduces a universal public childcare system.

This is the view of Labour Party Galway City West councillor, Niall McNelis, who is supporting his party's call for the Government to "move quickly to properly resource" the childcare and early years sector, and to take steps towards introduction of a universal public childcare system.

'Compared to other small open economies in Europe, Ireland’s female labour force participation rate is among the lowest'

The call comes in advance of a motion on childcare before the Dáil and follows the release by SIPTU of research which highlights the precarious nature of employment endured by many childcare workers.

SIPTU’s research indicates that close to 30 per cent of childcare workers are currently earning less than they had been prior to the pandemic; 61 per cent are experiencing difficulties in making ends meet on current incomes; while one in three say they intend to leave the sector within the next 12 months.

Labour Party Galway City West councillor, Niall McNelis, said the State needs to develop a universal public childcare system, along the lines of those in operation in other European countries.

"Parents should never have to choose between their children and their job," he said. "When compared to other small open economies in Europe, Ireland’s female labour force participation rate is among the lowest, and remains below the pre-crisis levels. This is in large part due to Ireland’s unaffordable childcare costs. The current model is not working."

 

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