Social Democrats spokesperson for Children Deputy Jennifer Whitmore has said that there should be no rowing back on support put in place for the childcare sector, and instead the state should build on these measures to finally create a national public childcare system.

Deputy Whitmore said:

When the Covid-19 pandemic hit, it quickly exposed the weaknesses in the provision of childcare, which had been vulnerable by a lack of public investment by successive Governments. To protect the childcare sector against collapse, the Government stepped in and covered the wages of staff within the sector.

Rather than rowing back on those measures, it is now time for the state to take this opportunity to build a national public childcare system, one that provides high quality, affordable childcare for parents and children, and good working conditions for staff. Other countries have managed to achieve this, it should be possible here too.

Whitmore has confirmed the party’s support for a new public model of childcare as called for by SIPTU’s Big Start campaign.

“I am supportive of the SIPTU campaign for a new childcare model in Ireland as we emerge from the COVID19 crisis. I also believe that proposals must be based on the existing infrastructure of private and community providers, developed in partnership with representative bodies and in consultation with parents. Our ultimate aim should be a high-quality, affordable childcare service that is responsive to the range of childcare needs of families in the State.

“Without a proper functioning childcare services we do not have a proper functioning economy and we will continue to see childcare staff underpaid, undervalued and high cost childcare provision for the foreseeable future. This also impacts heavily on the lives of families all across the country, who struggle to pay for childcare costs. If COVID19 has taught us anything it’s to appreciate the fundamental importance of public services, including childcare, accessible to all who need it.”

2nd June 2020

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