The Social Democrats today accused Fine Gael of failing families as new research shows that Ireland ranks among the worst in Europe for meeting people’s childcare and homecare support needs.
The party’s Spokesperson for Children, Wicklow Cllr Jennifer Whitmore said:
“Ireland’s appalling poor ranking in today’s ESRI study shows the utter emptiness of the Taoiseach’s recent claim that Fine Gael wants a better deal for families. The stark reality is that Ireland has the fourth highest level of unmet need for childcare out of eleven countries surveyed. Appallingly, 25 per cent of lone-parent families in Ireland reported an unmet need for childcare, compared to only 8 per cent in Denmark.
“It is clear that for many families, cost is a significant barrier to accessing childcare and this has an impact on mothers’ employment in particular. This government appears content to preside over a situation where there are more than 100,000 children living in consistent poverty and one third of parents are going into debt just to be able to send their children back to school.
“One of the Social Democrat’s priorities is to set a national target to end consistent child poverty. It is eminently achievable and shocking that we don’t have it as one of our national aims. Such a strategy would entail ensuring that children have full access to health care, to genuinely free primary and secondary education, and an end to the scandal of child homelessness.
“The ESRI report also found that people in Ireland were four times less likely than Swedish households to have their homecare needs met while just four out of ten Irish people over 65 in need of help received support, compared to 80 per cent of older people in Denmark.