Tens of thousands of childcare educators and providers joined parents earlier this month to protest about the high cost of childcare and low pay in the sector. Over 60% of childcare educators in Ireland earn below the living wage, while parents pay some of the highest fees in Europe.
The Dublin demonstration saw protestors calling on the incoming government to increase pay and funding for the childcare sector. They also called for more sustainability in the childcare profession.
The huge number of protestors also sent a clear and direct message to the incoming government that the issues in the childcare sector must be dealt with immediately as a matter of priority.
The average cost of childcare in Ireland amounted to €184 a week last year, up 3.4% from 2018 according to the figures released by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs. Dublin recorded the highest full-time childcare fees, averaging at €251 per week.
Campaigners say parents have contributed over €100,000 to childcare services out of their own pockets in recent years. This could have been substantially reduced with the help of state funding.
Fórsa’s pre-election membership poll found 71% of public servants were willing to back parties that pledged publicly-provided and funded affordable childcare for working people.
Fórsa official and parent, Eimear Ryan said a new system of increased funding was needed to bring Ireland’s childcare system closer to the EU average.
“As a working mum with two small girls aged nearly five and three years old, I require full time early years’ service. They attend a wonderful professional service about five kilometres from my home, where they are happy, as am I knowing that all their needs are being provided for in my absence.
“I supported the rally 100% and I conveyed my full support as I leave my most precious possessions with these dedicated professional and highly skilled workers. I believe they play an integral part in early childhood care and education of my girls and deserve fair recognition for their work and appropriate terms and conditions of employment,” she said.