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Dublin: 7 °C Thursday 24 April, 2014

Varadkar comments on childcare a ‘throwback to the 19th century’

The Transport Minister said earlier this week that women would have to quit their jobs if they earned less than the childcare expenses.

Transport Minister Leo Varadkar.
Transport Minister Leo Varadkar.
Image: Wanderley Massafelli/Photocall Ireland

IRISH MEMBER OF the European Parliament Phil Prendergast has criticised Transport Minister Leo Varadkar over comments he made this week about childcare costs.

Varadkar said childcare costs would have to be taken into consideration in insolvency arrangements if couples cannot meet mortgage repayments. The minister suggested that women would have to give up their jobs if they earned less than the childcare expenses.

He has since apologised for the comments but Prendergast said anyone in the position of minister needs to “be very careful of what’s said and how it’s interpreted”.

Prendergast told Radio EP’s Karen Coleman that it “seems like a throwback” to the 19th century, “barefoot and pregnant, tied to the kitchen sink”. “I think it was an ill thought out comment, I don’t think that the man meant any particular harm by it,” she said.

Prendergast said some women are “really struggling” and “sometimes women are going out of work and their sanity is saved by going out to work”.

“It may be only for the gain of €10 a week but it’s their gain and it gives them a quality of life that they may not have,” she added.

To listen to the full clip from Prendergast, click here.

Related: Taoiseach: No one will be forced to quit job if childcare exceeds salary>

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