Archive for the 'Childcare' Category

Childcare in Ireland – We need to do so much better

Stats on the comparative cost of childcare in Ireland for single parent family (Source: Start Strong)

Stats on the comparative cost of childcare in Ireland for single parent family (Source: Start Strong)

If I’m elected to the Dail in the General Election next year, a key priority for me will be working to achieve much greater public investment in early childhood care and education. This money should be spent on introducing paid parental leave, subsidizing approved childcare facilities and providing afterschool facilities for primarily school pupils.

On Saturday, I held a public meeting on the issue. The meeting was addressed by childcare experts from Start Strong and Early Childhood Ireland.

The statistics they outlined are genuinely shocking. When it comes to childcare costs, Irish families bear a massively disproportionate share compared to other countries. For example, in Ireland, lone parent families spend 40% of their net income on childcare. This compares to an EU average of 12%.

When it comes to paid leave for mothers, the figures are equally poor. Ireland supplies 6 ½ months paid leave (26 weeks maternity leave). Across the EU, this compares with an average 18 months. Some EU states, such as Finland and Poland, provide up to 36 months. The fact is that, in that all important year following a child’s birth, the Irish State provides inadequate support to families if they wish for either parent to be the full time carer for their child during this period.

Stats on the length of paid maternity leave across Europe (Source: Start Strong)

Stats on the length of paid maternity leave across Europe (Source: Start Strong)

The impact of the lack of supports for parents were clearly seen from the responses to the online survey I have been conducting over the last five weeks (link to full results below). 60% of the respondents said that that they felt that lack of access to affordable childcare impacted upon their career prospects. 60% also stated that access to childcare affected their decision on whether to have more children.

Ireland currently only spends .1% of GDP on early childhood care and education, as opposed to an OECD average of .8%. I believe we need to raise the level of State investment in this area to extend paid parental leave and to provide subsidies for parents sending their children to recognised crèches or childminders.

Childcare Survey – O’Gorman

Public Meeting: Meeting our Childcare Needs (Saturday, 21st Nov)

I’m holding a public meeting on childcare this Saturday 21st November in the Castleknock Hotel, commencing at 11:00am.

The meeting will feature two key speakers: Emma Reilly from Early Childhood Ireland and Toby Wolfe from Start Strong.

I will also be discussing the results from the online survey on childcare needs that I have been conducting over the last four weeks.

I hope to use the meeting to get further public feedback on what we need to do to fix our childcare system. I plan to use these discussions to shape my own proposals on how the law in this area can be improved.

Hope to see you there on the day.

Is Childcare an Election Issue for You? Please fill out my survey

More and more, childcare is being raised with me as a key concern of residents in the Dublin West constituency.

The childcare needs of each family and parent differs, and there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’.

In trying to get a better understanding of the different needs, before I bring forward my own proposals, I’m undertaking a survey of the childcare needs that families have. I hope to follow this up with a public meeting in a few weeks’ time to discuss these findings further.

Please take 5 minutes to fill out the form here. Your submission is anonymous. If you know anyone else who might like to contribute to this survey, I’d be delighted if you could forward them on a link to this page.