Sinn Féin TD for Louth and East Meath Imelda Munster has outlined her party’s plans to address the crisis in the childcare sector. At present, childcare is unaffordable for many parents, despite the fact that workers in the sector are underpaid.
Deputy Munster said:
“There is a crisis in the Early Years sector.
“Early Years professionals deserve to be paid a decent wage in financially sustainable services.
“Parents deserve a high quality, affordable childcare service that to look after their children. At the moment childcare is as expensive as a second mortgage for many families. This is a totally unsustainable situation.
“Sinn Féin has a fully costed childcare plan which we would see us reducing the cost of childcare by an average of €500 per month per child in government.
“We would cap and reduce fees whilst increase funding for the sector. We would also ensure improved pay and conditions for childcare staff.
“We would also extend paid maternity leave to 52 weeks, and increase maternity benefit by €50, to ensure that every child can be looked after by a parent in their first year of life, should that be the wish of the parents.
“SIPTU/Big Start, the Federation of Early Childhood Providers, the Association of Childhood Professionals, the National Community Childcare Forum and the National Childhood Network have convened an ‘Early Years Alliance’ to highlight the crisis in the sector and demand increased funding in the sector, better pay and recognition the profession deserves.
“Sinn Féin is fully behind this initiative. We recognise the need to support workers in the sector. We also understand the pressures that working parents are under, and we want to ease that burden to make childcare more affordable, and to ensure a high-quality childcare service across the state.