Deputy Kathleen Funchion
Sinn Féin spokesperson for Children Kathleen Funchion TD has criticised the a government report into developing a new funding model for the sector as it "does not adequately tackle sky-high fees".
Speaking following today’s publication of the 'Early Learning and Care and School-Age Childcare Expert Group' report, Teachta Funchion said:
"I know that parents will be bitterly disappointed by the contents of today’s report, in particular the lack of recommendations around substantially and systematically addressing exorbitant fees that are financially crippling so many families.
"The Expert Group talk about creating a price comparison website, encouraging the Department to collect more data on provider costs and exploring the possibility of using this information to aid in the management of fees.
"Parents don’t want to compare fees, they want affordable, local and high quality childcare - and they want it now.
“It is bitterly disappointing that the language and terminology used around controlling fees is so wishy-washy. It should be clear, concise and outline mandatory directives and policy for government to follow.
“Parents were promised in Budget 2022 that fees would be addressed by the Expert Group, which was widely welcomed.
"I also cautiously welcomed the Government's apparent policy shift to finally address this issue, however today my worst fears have been realised. High fees will remain for the foreseeable future.
“What parents want and what I have been calling for is a mandatory national fee structure, led by the Department, and introduced immediately with a clear pathway to compulsory incremental fee reduction.
"Sinn Féin would deliver this."
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