Childcare price disparities grow
by Diarmaid Mac A Bhaird

The cost of childcare in Dublin is significantly higher than in other parts of the country, according to a new report. The study of the affordability of childcare in Ireland finds that full-time childcare for one child in Fingal costs 40% of a medium-earning worker’s net income.


Published by the union-backed Nevin Economic Research Institute (NERI), the study also found that full-time childcare for two children anywhere in Dublin costs more than the net income of a minimum wage earner.


The report examined part-time and full-time childcare costs for one-parent families with one child, and households with two children and two earners. Leitrim had the lowest average full-time childcare costs, while Dun Laoighaire-Rathdown is the most expensive.


Rural counties generally had much lower childcare costs, but the report warned that a national 4.3% rise in the price of childcare “masks” regional disparities.


The study also discusses the wider economic repercussions of the high cost of childcare in Ireland. The authors speculate that it has a detrimental effect on employment because it limits participation in the workforce.


“Ireland has some of the highest costs for full-time childcare as a proportion of disposable income in the OECD and one of the lowest spends on early childhood education as a proportion of GDP,” it says. It also suggests that increased spending on early childhood education results in long-term economic gains.


Last December, an advisory note on pay bargaining by ICTU’s Private Sector Committee highlighted “excessive” childcare costs. IMPACT – one of the three unions that recently merged to create Fórsa – had earlier made a budget submission, which called for increased spending on early childhood education following years of underinvestment.




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