Sinn Féin this week launched childcare proposals aimed at cutting the cost for parents by two thirds, at ensuring childcare workers receive a living wage, and at keeping crèche doors open.
Key proposals include taking on the wages of the sector at a cost of €620 million, increasing the pay of childcare workers to the living wage of €12.30 by investing €30 million, and keeping crèche doors open by introducing a sustainability fund of €124 million for childcare providers.
This would positively impact the over 125 facilities and thousands of early years educators in Mayo, according to Sinn Féin Mayo TD Rose Conway-Walsh.
She said this week: "Childcare fees are too high and wages are too low. That is the reality that we hear daily from parents and workers in the childcare sector.
"Families need affordable and reliable childcare. Prolonged under-investment by Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael has led to Ireland sleepwalking into a privately-run and expensive system that cripples ordinary working families.
"We know that parents feel let down by the current system. Many women and some men are locked out of the workplace because childcare fees are too high.
"Covid-19 has added considerable additional strain and challenges, but it also presents us with an opportunity to completely overhaul the current broken childcare system.
"The reality is that there can be no economic recovery without a childcare system that works for all.
"Sinn Féin is prioritising childcare in our budget proposals, committing to cutting the costs of childcare by one third in 2021 and by the same amount again in 2022, prioritising measures to keep creche doors open and providing a living wage to childcare workers."