Social Democrats spokesperson for Children, Jennifer Whitmore TD, has welcomed the Citizens’ Assembly’s support for a publicly funded childcare model.

Deputy Whitmore said:

“The Social Democrats have been calling for a public model for some time. We need a new model of childcare which is responsive to the needs of families, workers and children.

“Budget 2021 overlooked this key sector, even though childcare provision is the main reason our economy is still functioning during the pandemic. Despite the key role it plays in society, there has been chronic underinvestment in this sector by successive governments.

“A public model of childcare would require significant increases in investment to address chronic low pay, unsustainability in the sector and unaffordable costs for parents. Quality of childcare would also be central to this model.

“I am supportive of the SIPTU campaign for a new childcare model in Ireland as we emerge from the Covid-19 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. This is what needs to happen to turn around Ireland’s record at the bottom of the class in terms of investment in the sector, which currently stands at 0.1pc of GDP – the lowest of any developed country.

“Care is an integral part of life in Ireland and must be recognised as a highly important aspect of our society. Right now, we do not value care in all its forms – this needs to change.”

January 18, 2021

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