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03rd Oct 2023

Parents left in ‘crazy scenarios’ due to childcare costs amid urgent call for change

Sophie Collins

Major concerns are being raised around the current costs for parents who are in need of childcare on a regular basis.

Many couples are being faced with the decision of whether or not they can actually afford to have children in what has been described as a ‘crazy scenario’ for young people.

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Children, Kathleen Funchion, said they are calling for the cost of childcare to be cut by two-thirds in the upcoming budget.

The party is bringing a motion to the Dail to encourage the Government to provide additional funding to the sector.

Deputy Funchion spoke with Newstalk Breakfast on Tuesday about the huge fees and said this will continue to worsen as the winter months approach.

“We know that many families struggle to actually access childcare due to the fees, it’s in the region of €800 to €1,300 per month – that’s just for one child,” she said.

“If you have more than one child, obliviously it’s a lot more again.

“We also know that this has been an issue for several years, but particularly at the moment given [that] we’re back into the winter months.

“People will be struggling with increased electricity and fuel and all of those other cost of living measures.”

Deputy Funchion went on to say that she believes there has never been much effort put in to bringing the fees down, and action on the matter is now urgently needed.

“There was a fee freeze last year, and a small amount of money went into that sector,” she said.

“It wouldn’t be done through a tax break; it would be done through investment into the service itself, into the providers.

“If you increase investment, and actually do it properly… that you would then ask providers to reduce their fees in line with getting this funding.

“It would be a kind of a contract-type situation.”

Deputy Funchion went as far as to say that she doesn’t think cuts are necessary elsewhere to achieve a fee reduction.

“You can’t do it all, but I’m specifically speaking about the childcare and the issues in that sector,” she said.

“Later this week we’re launching our budget submission which will contain exactly what we feel are priorities.

“That’s a small flavour of it – health, housing, childcare – and that’s kind of been our situation for the last number of years.

“I also really genuinely believe that’s what people want.

“They want to be able to live their lives, not planning out ‘Can we afford to have a child? Can we afford to have a second child?’

“They’re the kind of crazy scenarios people are being left in,” she added.

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