Mac Lochlainn supports local childcare providers protest for increased funding, a single oversight agency & better pay, terms and conditions for staff
Speaking ahead of tomorrow’s national childcare providers protest Senator Padraig Mac Lochlainn has reaffirmed Sinn Féin’s commitment to transform the childcare sector over a term of government.
The Donegal general election candidate said:
“Years of underinvestment in the sector by successive government’s has resulted in soaring costs for parents, administrative burdens for providers and shamefully low pay for workers.
“I will join providers at their protest in Letterkenny to show my support for their demands for better funding and improved pay, terms and conditions for staff.
“The reality is the new National Childcare Scheme will not significantly reduce childcare costs for parents or address the fundamental flaws in Ireland’s system of childcare delivery. It will merely tinker around the edges of a broken system.
“Pay remains low for those working in the sector with many having to sign on during the summer months. Administration of funding, inspections, quality assurance and oversight are onerous and fragmented as early years’ service providers have to liaise with three separate state agencies.
“We will establish a single early years and school-age agency with responsibility for all aspects of funding, oversight, planning, and administration providing.
“At the outset childcare workers will be guaranteed an entry level Living Wage and we will implement the proper pay scales, as provided in the Mercer recommendations, across the sector making childcare a real and long-term career choice for staff
“State investment in childcare is less than half that provided by gold standard counties such as Sweden and Denmark.
“Research shows that high childcare costs are linked to lower employment among mothers as going back to work simply doesn’t pay.
“Parents are spending up to 12% of their disposable income on childcare and for low income and lone parent families the picture is even bleaker. They can pay between 16 and 20 per cent for a single child.
“Sinn Féin plan includes a transformational five-year programme of childcare reform that will cut fees by two-thirds for parents. That would put €466 back in the pocket every month for a family in Donegal.
“Over the course of a five-year term of government we would increase investment into the early learning sector by €500 million through an opt-in scheme providing direct financial support for centre-based providers. “This increased investment will be accompanied by legislation to include a schedule of permissible fees with financial support increasing year on year and fees shrinking in parallel over the five-year period.”