Mayo Sinn Féin TD Rose Conway-Walsh has called on all TDs in Mayo to back Sinn Féin’s drive to reform the childcare sector to be fairer for parents, staff and providers, by supporting the motion, published this week, compelling the Government to enact these long overdue reforms.
Speaking in the Dáil on Tuesday evening Deputy Conway-Walsh said: "The crippling cost of childcare has been allowed to spiral out of control and is pushing many ordinary working families into debt.
"Ireland has some of the highest childcare costs in the EU. This is unfair and unsustainable. Without affordable childcare, many parents and mothers in particular, are being forced out of the workplace.
"Sinn Féin has this week brought forward an ambitious and comprehensive plan for the childcare sector. It includes yearly funding increases for the sector to ensure long-term sustainability, as well as reducing fees charged to parents to ensure lower, fairer costs for families.
"It also pledges better pay and working conditions for staff. Workers in the early years sectors are highly qualified and skilled, yet are often paid minimum wage. They deserve fair pay.
"The pandemic wage subsidy was crucial for the childcare sector. But as it comes to an end, after already being reduced to 85%, we face an even bigger crisis- increased fees, lower wages and potential closure of facilities, which will only worsen the childcare crisis. That’s why we’re calling for the restoration of the 100% wage subsidy scheme to prevent this from happening.
"It is time to decide whether we see the early years sector as a cost and a burden to the state or we see it as an opportunity to invest in our most precious commodity, our children and our families.
"Apart from the pay-back from protecting the health, wellbeing and education of our children, parents are enabled to work outside the home, progressing their careers and returning higher levels of taxation and spending to underpin economic growth. A solid professional, affordable and accessible early years sector benefits all of society.”