A study revealed last week that the average weekly cost of childcare in Longford was €155.77 or over €620 per month.
Depending on what part of the country you live in, that cost can spiral to €1,000 per month, and childcare costs are hitting families very hard. Government has invested heavily in childcare, with funding for the Department of Children increasing from €260m in 2015 to €574m.
Yet, the cost of childcare has risen by 3.6%, five times the rate of inflation and much more needs to be done to prevent families from having to decide whether one parent should opt out of the workforce or not.
Children’s Minister Katherine Zappone assures us ‘that efforts to address childcare affordability will continue’ but with the prospect of a no-deal Brexit looming large and the inevitable strain it will put on the public purse, parents best not get carried away with themselves.
And while hard pressed parents struggle to cope with rising childcare fees, spare a thought for staff in the sector where the average hourly pay is reported to be just over €12.55. For the onerous responsibility that comes with the role, it is meagre.
And if we truly believe the children are our future, then Government has got to do more to put the needs of families first and make childcare more affordable.