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Mary Lou criticises Labour’s ‘insulting’ childcare plan, Joan brings up the IRA

Things got heated in the Dáil.

JOAN BURTON AND Mary Lou McDonald had an interesting exchange in the Dáil this afternoon.

During Leaders’ Questions, McDonald brought up Labour’s promise to introduce €2-an-hour childcare if re-elected.

mary lou

Under the proposed measure, the government would pay State-registered childcare providers a further 50 cent an hour per child, if they don’t raise their costs above €4.75 an hour.

The scheme would apply to children aged between nine months and 12 years, for 40 hours a week.

McDonald described the measure as an “insult” to parents and another promise that Labour “will surely break”.

Sinn Féin’s deputy leader said the plan is an uncosted “election gimmick”.

Time and again you brazenly broke the promises that you made.

Burton then went off topic, asking how anyone could trust what Sinn Féin has to say as Gerry Adams can’t say if he was leader of the IRA and “can’t even ‘fess up” in relation to information about murders.

joan

She defended the government’s record in relation to childcare investment, saying she is “very proud” of what the coalition has achieved given the “extremely difficult financial situation” they inherited upon coming to office.

Cheaper childcare?

Speaking about the proposal on Today with Seán O’Rourke, Labour TD Ciara Conway said: “Over a five-year period, as investment increases by the state, the amount paid out by the parent will reduce down to approximately €2 per hour per child.”

The Waterford TD said the proposal would cost parents about €80 a week per child, down from the current average of €170.

Childcare in Ireland hasn’t been invested in in the past and over the five-year period this will cost €500 million.

Conway said the investment in the first year would be an additional €140 million, comparing this to the €144 million extra investment in education in the last budget.

She noted that it’s important that parents who stay at home are “able to access working opportunities” as the economy improves.

Read: Labour TD criticises Burton for giving David Begg state board role without public process

Read: McGrath vs. McGrath: These lads had a lively (and hilarious) row in our office

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