'Affordable' scheme... But childcare is still costing you more than a mortgage
Childcare costs a lot. An awful lot.
But does it in fact cost more than your mortgage?
Last year, a Pobal survey of 4,300 childcare providers and published in the Irish Times showed that the average price of a full-time childcare place was €167 per week between September 2015 and June 2016.
And nationally, as reported last November by RTE, the average monthly mortgage repayment is €1,364.
Which means that - on paper at least - children comes in at around half the price of paying back your property loan.
However, that's assuming you only have one child... Two children? Three children? Most of us know that very quickly the expense of childcare can spiral.
Indeed, a few years ago the Irish Independent reported on a survey which found that families are paying up to €1,100 a month to have just one child taken care of during working hours.
"Many parents contact us about being forced into part-time work, because they can’t afford childcare. It’s a huge issue for lone parents as well," Orla O’Connor of the National Women’s Council has previously warned.
And Orla isn’t alone in her beliefs. Government lobby group PACUB (Parents Against Child Unfriendly Budget) has long said that it is concerned about the prospect of child benefit in Ireland becoming means-tested.
"Some parents might be earning good salaries, but most of it is going on childcare," Niamh Kelly of PACUB highlighted.
"So if you take away the little bit of help provided by child benefit you could push them out of the workforce altogether," she added.
This month, the Government introduced its More Affordable Childcare scheme - which allocates another €80 a month to parents with children under the age of three in childcare.