Families in Galway needing childcare are burdened with weekly fees of €168 per child - the highest childcare costs in Connacht.
The figures come from the Annual Early Years Sector Profile Report 2019-20. While it shows that Galway does not have the highest childcare costs in the State compared with Dublin (€211 - €239 ), Cork (c€200 ), or even Clare (€173 ), it is ahead of the other Connacht counties: Sligo (€164 ), Roscommon (€162 ), Mayo (€162 ), and Leitrim (€151 ).
The figures have prompted Sinn Féin Galway East representative, Louis O’Hara to say, “Parents in Galway are struggling to cope with skyrocketing childcare fees. Families with more than one child in full time childcare must meet an even more significant financial burden.”
Mr O’Hara [pictured above] noted that in the Programme for Government, the coalition announced a series of promises to reform the childcare sector, but that more than a year later, fees have not fallen, instead they have risen.
“The Government has dismally failed working parents who need affordable childcare in their first year,” he said. “Families are crying out for this crisis to be addressed, but the Government isn’t listening.”
Mr O’Hara said many parents want to return to work, but cannot afford to and so leave their jobs or reduce their hours to stay at home with their children. “This particularly affects women, who often feel forced to drop out of the workforce and this deepens inequality in our society,” he said.
Mr O'Hara said Sinn Féin is calling for the childcare sector to be properly funded and that the State take on the cost of childcare staff wages. “This would reduce fees by one third within the first year and then by two thirds over five years,” he said. “This would be a crucial investment in our children’s futures.”