Parents are struggling to make ends meet due to crippling childcare costs. Many working mothers and fathers find there is simply nothing left at the end of the month. The current costs of childcare pose an unbearable burden on young families. Across the European Union, childcare costs around 12% of a family’s income on average, while in Ireland it accounts for 35%.
I am committed to supporting working families giving all children the best possible start in life.
Fianna Fáil’s policies:
Child Support Tax Credit: Fianna Fáil will directly support working parents with a tax credit worth up to €2,000 to help them deal with childcare costs.
Universal Second Free Pre-School Year: Fianna Fáil will introduce a second free pre-school year for children aged 2-3 years of age to give children and families access to early education services from the start.
Special Needs: Ensuring children with special educational needs are integrated into the early education and childcare sector, through the provision of necessary supports to enable them to access and participate fully in early childhood service provision.
Expanding Maternity Leave: Fianna Fáil will expand maternity leave to 30 weeks and help supporting parents to maintain a work-life balance through statutory leave entitlements including shared, transferable leave between mothers and fathers.
Professionalising the Childcare Sector: Developing a professional and purposeful early childhood sector and ensuring all early childhood services are continuously monitored and fully regulated in line with the highest international standards.
We tripled child benefit payment rates from 1997 – 2010. The government cut it by €10 before gradually restoring it to 2010 levels over the past two budgets.
Fianna Fáil introduced a free pre-school year in 2009 despite significant economic pressure. In contrast, this government has forced the ECCE providers to the pin of the collar trying to provide the programme with scarce measures.
Fianna Fáil created 10,000 Special Needs Assistants, over 7,000 extra resource and learning support teachers and over 1,000 other teachers supporting pupils in special schools. This government has opened up just 100 new positions.