Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Children and Youth Affairs, Anne Rabbitte, has said work should continue to secure a Sectoral Employment Order for staff in the early year’s sector and says her Party has real and workable solutions to address problems in the childcare sector.

Deputy Rabbitte said:

Minister Zappone and her colleagues in the outgoing Fine Gael government have had an entirely hands-off approach to the sector and this is having a negative impact in the industry and on staff’s pay and conditions.  Work is underway to secure a Sectoral Employment Order for staff working in the early years sector. This is to be welcomed, and it is our hope that this process will be progressed as quickly as possible.  Overall, the childcare sector needs real leadership. We are proposing real change to make childcare more affordable for parents, a sustainable business for providers, and will expand the sector.

Deputy Rabbitte continued:

If we form the next government we will immediately make childcare more affordable and accessible. We will increase the National Childcare Scheme subsidy for ordinary workers with an investment of an additional €81 million to increase the universal childcare subsidy from €20 per week to €80 per week.  We will establish a childminders tax credit for registered childminders of 0-3 year olds worth €2k for average income households.

The early years of a child’s life are critical in their development. This is why Fianna Fáil are committed to expanding the Early Childhood Care and Education scheme from 38 to 40 weeks.

Deputy Rabbitte concluded:

State subsidies are being swallowed up by increased childcare costs and leave parents no better off. We will introduce legislation to require all registered childcare providers to display a full list of prices in their establishment as well as online. This is to ensure transparency and fair pricing.  The recent rally led by the Early Year’s Alliance should not be ignored by any public representatives or those seeking public office. It is paramount the next government tackle this crisis head-on.