Carlow/Kilkenny TD Kathleen Funchion
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Children, Kathleen Funchion TD, has demanded that the government adequately fund the childcare sector and reduce the cost of childcare for families.
Deputy Funchion spoke earlier today at the No Child Left Behind rally outside Leinster House.
“I am proud to be standing in solidarity today with childcare sector workers as they demand better funding for childcare at this rally at Leinster House. Politicians must listen and act.
“Childcare is severely under-funded and under-resourced in Ireland. Children and their parents are being failed by this lack of funding by the government.
“The National Childcare Scheme announced in 2019 was heralded by the government as an attempt to improve this situation but it in fact negatively impacted thousands of children from disadvantaged and marginalised backgrounds.
“These children and their families were previously supported under targeted schemes which recognised that children from some families in need, require additional supports to provide equity of access, opportunity and participation.
“However, the new scheme transitioned from a child centred approach to a labour activation model, where unemployed parents and carers are entitled to fewer or no subsidised hours of childcare for their children compared to children of working parents or parents engaged in education or training.
“This is an appalling situation which results in the state discriminating against children in a bid to motivate their parents into employment and education.
“The government has been turning a blind eye to this crisis in childcare for too long. We must have a properly funded and resourced system which is accessible for families. Access must be fair and meet families’ needs.
“Later today, I will be introducing my motion in the Dáil which will call on the government to finally address this crisis in Budget 2022. Sinn Féin are proposing a state model, which would see the government take on the cost of staff wages, in order to reduce fees for parents.
“Our proposals would see fees be cut by one third in the first year, and then by two thirds subsequently. This would ensure fees could be affordable for families and put money back into parents’ pockets.
“Our proposals would also ensure fairer pay and conditions for staff by ensuring they are paid the living wage. They are highly qualified staff who perform a vital job, yet this isn’t reflected in their current pay.
“I am calling on all TDs to back my motion tonight and reduce childcare costs for parents.”
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