Budget 2018 ‘must see Government deliver high-quality, affordable childcare’ – McDonald

Speaking in the Dáil this afternoon Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald today called on the Taoiseach to commit to delivering high-quality, affordable childcare in Budget 2018.

The Dublin Central TD said:

“The forthcoming budget represents a genuine opportunity to deliver for those who are struggling to make ends meet. While Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil engage in a sham fight over tax cuts, hammering out a budget that will disproportionately benefit the well-off in society, young families in Ireland are faced with some of the highest childcare costs in the world.

“Many parents are paying what amounts to a second mortgage to ensure that their children are looked after, and the fault for this this rests with successive Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil led governments who failed to invest in the Early Years Sector.

“By signalling a preference for tax cuts, over the necessity to build decent public services, Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil are in effect choosing to abandon these families.

“Sinn Féin has made a different choice. We are on the people’s side. We have chosen to stand on the side of these struggling families. We want to see a budget that puts their interests first through the proper funding and resourcing of the Early Years sector.

“High-quality affordable childcare is an essential public service. It allows parents return to work, avoid poverty traps and it provides employment. Sinn Féin is calling on the Government to commit to providing high-quality, affordable childcare throughout this state.

“Sinn Féin’s alternative budget will propose an increase in the Universal Childcare Subsidy – from 50 cent an hour to €2.50 an hour. This is a five-fold increase. This measure would put €420 a month, per child, into the pockets of struggling families.

“Our budget proposals would make a real difference not only for parents, but also for childcare providers who are prevented from reinvesting in their services as they are operating on a break even basis.” CRIOCH