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The most expensive childcare is in Dublin, the cheapest is in Carlow

The average cost of full-time childcare in Ireland is €184 per week.

shutterstock_1273137172 File photo Source: Shutterstock/Oksana Kuzmina

THE AVERAGE COST of full-time childcare in Ireland is €184 per week, up 3.4% on last year.

The average part-time fee is €109.98 per week, up 8%, according to figures released today.

The lowest full-time fees (for children aged two to three years) was recorded in Co Carlow, at €148 per week, with the highest full-time fees recorded in Dublin (Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown), at €251 per week.

The figures are drawn from almost 4,000 early learning and school-age childcare services throughout Ireland. They highlights major variations across the country.

childcare1 Source: Department of Children and Youth Affairs

childcare2 Source: Department of Children and Youth Affairs

Full-time childcare is classed as five or more hours per day, while part-time is between three and a half hours and five hours, and sessional represents fewer than three and a half hours per day.

The figures were released by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs. Speaking about the numbers, Minister Katherine Zappone said it’s a priority for her “to reduce the cost of high-quality early learning and care and school-age childcare to parents and bring it into line with EU norms”.

Zappone noted that investment in early learning and care and school-age childcare has increased from €260 million in 2015 to €574 million in 2019. However, she said despite this “the cost to families of early learning and care and school-age childcare remains higher in Ireland than in other OECD countries – with wide variation in fees across the country”.

Staff costs account, on average, for approximately 70% of services’ costs. The average hourly rate for staff in the sector is just over €12.55 and the average hourly rate for Early Years Assistant is €11.44, but this rises in urban areas.

Zappone said her department is engaging with Siptu in a bid to improve pay and conditions for workers, adding that a Labour Court Sectoral Employment Order is “the most viable mechanism” to do so.

The publication of today’s figures coincides with final preparations for the introduction of the National Childcare Scheme, a statutory entitlement to financial support for early learning and school-age childcare in Ireland.

Parents can currently claim for up to 40 subsidised hours per week and Zappone is expected to seek to increase this in the upcoming Budget. She said the scheme will “alleviate the burden on parents” but “more needs to be done”.

“I recently announced plans to develop a new funding model for early learning and care and school-age childcare … As Minister I want to see improvements in terms of affordability for parents and the quality of service offered to children,” Zappone added. 

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Órla Ryan

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