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THE MORNING LEAD

Your stories: The stress, strain and heartbreak of trying to find childcare in Ireland

“Our unborn child is on a waiting list for two creches and four childminders – yes, a waiting list. No place is confirmed.”

NO PLACES. NO under-ones. No access to subsidies. Astronomical prices. 

Finding and paying for childcare is an enormous challenge facing families in Ireland right now.

Many parents report experiencing immense stress trying to find a place as they deal with tough decisions like cutting back on hours or leaving a job to ensure that someone is looking after their children every day. Some even talk about emigrating. 

Back in 2021, The Journal asked readers to share their experiences of seeking childcare in Ireland.

Three years later, we’ve put out the same request again, and the stories we received from readers show that the situation is still just as dire – if not worse.

We heard from parents, grandparents and childminders who are all trying their best to navigate a broken system.

Among the comments we received: 

  • “They wanted a €1,200 non-refundable deposit five months before the child was even born. [The baby would be] due to start crèche 18 months later.”
  • “I am a childminder, minding 3 children in my home in Deansgrange. I only started last January and in 14 months I have had 136 parents contact me for a space in my home.”
  • “I have no idea what anyone is supposed to do – there is no way of ‘beating the system’ by being organised. The places just don’t exist.”

Here are our readers’ stories.

‘I have women crying on the phone looking for places.’ Andrea, Dublin 14

“As a crèche owner, it is heartbreaking to be turning away 5/6 people every day. I have women crying on the phone looking for places and we can’t add any more to our waiting lists.

“It’s not about affordability anymore. We are in a gridlock that we cannot get out of to help people.

“These waiting lists are not going to go away unless new facilities are moved along quickly and the amount of hoops we have to jump through are lessened.” 

‘Grandparents should get the opportunity to be grandparents, not forced to fill the gap.’ Emma, Dublin 9

“We are expecting our first baby, due this August. When I was 10 weeks pregnant, before we even told our close friends and family, I started to call local crèches to get an understanding of waiting lists. I live in Drumcondra (Dublin 9) and could not believe that out of seven crèches contacted (many of whom have multiple locations) only one crèche would even facilitate a conversation about a late 2025 placement. The others all indicated I should have called much earlier (indicating before conception!).

“Costs were not disclosed but the lack of options and the need for us to return to work meant that whatever that one crèche wanted to charge us, we were obliged to accept. We also reached out to childcare providers who work from their own homes locally, who are all full up until at least 2026.

“My husband and I are both in our early thirties, have been lucky enough to purchase our home and have established our careers, but the lack of availability and cost transparency has been a huge stressor as we look to grow our family.

“We both have parents living within a 30-minute drive who will be helping us out with childcare when I have to return to work and before the baby’s crèche placement is available, but we understandably do not wish to impose this on them.

“Grandparents should get the opportunity to be grandparents, not forced to fill the gap due to lack of amenities – and that is coming from a couple who are so fortunate to have a strong support network of family nearby that are willing to help.”

‘The waiting lists in Galway city were up to two years’. Anonymous, Galway

“I live in Galway city. All the parents I spoke to had their child registered with crèches when they were three or four months pregnant! This is completely ridiculous and unfair.

“I found a childminder. I pay €40 per day, which seems great but is actually another mortgage per month. The waiting lists for crèches in Galway city were anything up to two years.

“Also, if you read any of the Tusla reports from the crèche inspections, they hardly inspire trust. Staff turnover is another huge issue. They are not paid well or fairly!”

‘I’m a doctor and wanted to return to work as soon as possible.’ Yvonne, Dublin

“I live in Dublin 6W where it was a total nightmare to source childcare. When I rang (many, many) crèches at 10 weeks pregnant, the best I could get was a place for when my daughter turned 15 months.

“I am a NCHD [Non-Consultant Hospital Doctor] and really wanted to return to work as soon as possible so I didn’t have to extend my training more than the six months I missed on maternity leave. I was lucky that my mom and mother-in-law were able to help bridge the gap but many of my colleagues don’t have that option.

“I’m really happy with the crèche we got but the cost is a huge strain on our finances. I don’t see myself being able to have another child on this salary.

“The lack of childcare prevents women returning to the workforce when they want to and limits the number of children people can afford to have – so not addressing it is so shortsighted for both the economy now and in the future.

“The increased National Childcare Scheme (NCS) funding is welcome but useless when you physically can’t get a place in a crèche and when childcare workers aren’t paid enough for the valuable work they do.”

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‘We can’t qualify for a GP visit card.’ Anonymous, Tipperary

“There are no options here in Thurles Co. Tipperary. There are two crèches in the town and none in the community where my child will go to school. I asked the after-school service if they would consider opening a crèche to meet demand but their response was simply “too much paperwork”.

“I have no option but to pay a private childminder in their home. We’re lucky as she’s fantastic but we are paying full rates. She’s not registered so we can’t get the benefit of childcare schemes in place and we can’t qualify for a GP visit card either.

“We pay €225 per week for five days, 8.30am to 5.30pm.” 

‘I have had to take a huge pay cut.’ Natalie, Meath

“I have two children, aged three and two. I worked full time commuting to Dublin prior to having them.

“When my second was two weeks old I contacted the local crèches, of which there are four. They were all on waitlists for places. The best of the lot had my eldest 14th on the waitlist and my youngest 42nd on the waitlist.

“I was told that parents have their children on waitlists from very early in the pregnancies, so I effectively had no chance. I have never heard from them since regarding a place.

“During my maternity leave I spent a lot of stressful months trying to negotiate with my workplace (in healthcare, so full work-from-home is not possible) for one day parental leave, one day work-from-home where I could have the children with a minder, and then the other three days covered between my husband and my mum. My husband works a compressed week and takes parental leave.

“Nothing was looking promising with work and the minder I found that had availability, although very happy with her, was going to cost €120 a day.

“In the end, I managed to secure a part-time job more locally and between myself, husband and mum we manage the childcare.

“We just about manage financially but in order to care for my family I have had to take a huge pay cut and have gone two promotional grades down to do this, all because I could not secure appropriate childcare in my area.”

‘There are no places to be had.’ Neasa, North County Dublin

“I’m based in Sutton/Howth. There is currently one full service crèche operating on the Howth peninsula and offering six baby places per year.

“I have a four-week-old baby with no prospect of local childcare for my return to work. Irrespective of cost, there are no places to be had.”

‘Like most things in Ireland, it’s who you know that makes the difference.’ Anonymous, Limerick

“A year ago we decided to move back home to Limerick from Dublin.

“Cost wasn’t an issue because we were moving from the most expensive area of the country (Dun Laoghaire Rathdown) so we knew it would be cheaper. However, we rang every crèche and childcare provider in Limerick city and county and were told there would be no place available for at least a year (often two). Instead we were put on “the list”.

“Every childcare provider/crèche has a list and what struck me at the time was that everyone who is looking for childcare is on every list and you will never know how high you are up on each list and how each provider manages their list.

“The cynic in me assumed that a child at the top of a list won’t necessarily be offered the next available place as this would probably go to friends and family of staff. So, being from Limerick, we spread the word around to all our friends and family in the hope of finding a place.

“Sure enough, someone we know has a cousin working in the crèche that is closest to where we’re moving to, and after one phone call, we got a place straight away. Like most things in Ireland, it’s who you know that makes the difference.

“The cost went down from €992 per month in Dun Laoghaire to €428 in Limerick, so you can see why we moved.”

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‘I’ll struggle to pay bills if I take the place.’ Anonymous, Dublin

“My daughter is 22 months old. I was told last May when she turned one that I would be waiting two years before I got a place and even then it might not happen unless her name goes down for ECCE now.

“This same answer was given by 15 different crèches around my area. I also looked closer to my job in Lucan and got the same answers.

“I got a place in January this year but now my mortgage and childcare fees would take most of my wages. I’ll struggle to pay for any other bills if I take the place. My mother-in-law can help for free but is not fit for full time with her current health. It’s a worry to even ask her to help.”

‘We cannot benefit from the ECCE funding.’ Paul, Limerick

“We are expecting our first child in May so we need childcare from January 2025.

“We were lucky that my wife works in a Montessori, so we found someone to mind our infant. The issue is we couldn’t find someone who is registered so we cannot benefit from the ECCE funding.

“Similarly, my friend was not so lucky and has not found any childcare, so his wife cannot go back to work. This has led to them struggling month to month to make ends meet with only one income and high rent.”

‘It’s ridiculous – if you can even get a place in the first place.’ Rachel, Kerry and Wexford

“Recently I have experience of both childcare in Co Kerry and Co Wexford. No crèche places available anywhere. No afterschools available and no way of working because of it.

“The NCS has helped families but if you look at single parents paying €50 per week for afterschool care with no pickup from school (another expense paying €5 per day to get someone to drop your child there) working for a single parent becomes hardly worth your while as you can only work up to earning €165 per week on top of your one parent or jobseekers transitional payment and then you’re left with €75 for three days working part-time.

“It’s ridiculous – if you can even get a place in the first place. Most places are a one to two year wait to get into a crèche, regardless of what age your child is. Extremely frustrating when all parents want to do is work and earn money.”

“This is not how I envisaged my retirement and I am exhausted but have no choice.” Anonymous, Donegal

“I have two daughters who are both teachers. The crèche in our area Ballyshannon, Co Donegal is full and not even taking names.

“Daughter One is a secondary teacher with a five-year-old who just started school and a one-year-old. She is lucky that she has a private, unregistered childminder who is excellent but costs €35 per day for the one-year-old and €25 a day for the five-year-old after school from 2pm until she collects the girls at 4.30 pm. No subsidies.

“Daughter Two is a primary teacher and as above can’t avail of the crèche and has a one-year-old. There is no private childminder available and I have stepped in to mind the baby. I retired in August and have the baby since September. This is not how I envisaged my retirement and I am exhausted but have no choice. I love my grandson dearly but want to be a grandmother, not a childminder.”

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‘A crèche was due to be built within a year but years later there are still planning issues.’ Anita and Michael, Meath

“We are based in Dunshaughlin, Co Meath. I am currently 28 weeks pregnant with our first baby and still no crèche place.

“I contacted all the crèches in our local area when I was six weeks pregnant for a place in July 2025. I’ve been advised there are no spaces, been added to a waiting list or they don’t take children under two years.

“I plan to take one full year off. However, I know for some people this is not always achievable. I’ve contacted all local TDs and councillors, who have empathised with us but can’t offer any further assistance. We are both from Donegal and no family available down here to help with childminding.

“We bought our house 4.5 years ago and were promised a crèche was due to be built within one year. Years later and there are still issues surrounding planning, which again local representatives have acknowledged concerns about but no further action is being taken.

“We both need to work to be able to afford our mortgage and have saved for the past few years for this baby and to have childcare fees ready. I worked in childcare for eight years and my qualifications are in this (however I had a career change four years ago) and understand more needs to be done within the sector. We are both anxious that our baby isn’t even born yet and we have worries already in relation to childcare.”

‘They no longer offer a baby room.’ Michelle, Dublin 5

“I had my third child in October 2023. With this being my third baby, I knew the issue with childcare facing me and began to contact crèches during my pregnancy.

“The common thread that has appeared with crèches is that they no longer offer a baby room. Childcare begins from the age of one, the day of the child’s first birthday.

“I contacted 12 crèches in the Dublin 5, 13, 17 and 9 areas. I am on the waiting list of eight childcare providers.

“I placed my name on the crèche list closest to my home while I was 10 weeks pregnant. This is the only creche I have been offered a place in. I received this notification this week.

“My baby is six months old today and she will begin her childcare place at 15 months old, when she is big enough to start in a wobbler room.

“All of the other crèches I contacted when my baby was two weeks old. The common response was I would not receive a place until September 2025 as I had left it so late to apply for a place.

“Along with the lack of childcare, I have a huge issue with the lack of social welfare support for mothers to bridge the gap between the end of maternity leave and the one-year-old starting point most creches now only offer.

“The introduction of seven weeks parents’ leave, €272 per week, which increases to nine weeks from August, is a help. There is a huge gap in supporting mothers and families from the age of the baby being seven-and-a-half months and one. The parents’ leave social welfare payment should align with the childcare options of the state.

“If a mother would like to return to work, but there is such limited childcare option until the age of her child turning one, why is she not supported financially with a social welfare payment up until this point?

“It’s like the hunger games trying to secure a crèche place!

‘Ireland is failing mothers.’ Valentina, Laois

“We have a seven-month-old baby and I have been unable to return to work after maternity as there are no childcare options for babies anymore.

“We live in Laois and I have contacted crèches in surrounding towns and even Dublin ones as my partner commutes to work there. They either don’t take children under two years of age or have a 2/3 year waiting list. This is absolutely appalling! So much progress in society for this?

“We cannot afford rent and cost of living on one whole salary as this country has become ridiculously expensive and unaffordable. We’ve no family around to give us a hand with childcare. Our only option is finding a childminder, which has its drawbacks as it’s not a regulated industry so the prices are more expensive than a daycare, but there also not everyone wants to work with babies and the responsibility it comes with. Ireland is failing mothers, yet again.”

‘There are only a handful of crèches in our area.’ Sarah, Dublin

“Days after I found out I was having twins, I contacted about a dozen crèches to find places for them. At not quite 10 weeks pregnant, I was told by every crèche I contacted that there was a two-year wait for children under the age of one.

“We managed to find the girls spots at a crèche linked to my husband’s work that became available when they were a little over nine months old, which delayed my plans to return to work. While they are doing well at that crèche, we have since moved, and my husband can no longer work from home. Additionally, his contract is ending soon, and we don’t know what we will do if he doesn’t get it renewed.

“There are only a handful of crèches in our area. None of them have space for one child, let alone two, and the cost of a childminder for two is much more expensive than a crèche. I was hoping it would be easier now that they are over a year old, because no local crèche takes babies, but it seems, until ECCE, there is nothing.”

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‘My 79-year-old mother had been watching him but she was finding it more of a struggle as he gets more active.’ Colleen, Sligo

“Myself and my husband have two children, aged four years and 20 months. My husband works full time, I work three days a week.

“Our four-year-old attends one creche on the days I work. She attends a local ECCE preschool for three hours each morning on the days I’m off.

“Our 20-month-old has been on the waiting list for several crèches since he was four months old. We had expected him to get a place at our daughter’s crèche when he reached the minimum age of 18 months but we were told there would be no places until June or July. More recently we’ve been told there may not even be a place for him by September.

“My 79-year-old mother had been watching him but she was finding it more of a struggle as he gets more active. She has also recently had surgery so we decided it was unfair to rely on her charity any longer. I am currently on parents’ leave and my husband will then take his seven weeks when mine finishes.

“If we have not managed to find a crèche place or minder by the time our parents leave is up, one of us will have to reduce our working hours to stay at home and mind our child.

“Our problem is one of availability of spaces rather than cost. It’s very stressful.”

‘Not being Irish makes it even harder to navigate the system.’ Vesna

“My husband and I have one child together (July 2022) who has been on the waiting list from August 2022, and with a great deal of luck we will have a spot in September 2025. He currently attends a private childcare but it is extremely unreliable.

“We are hoping to have another child in the near future and the it way looks at the moment, my husband is going to have to leave his job after my maternity ends. Ridiculous school hours and poor breakfast club/afterschool care availability will probably leave us having to do this until the children are in secondary school. We make two average wages and would gladly pay for childcare, if we could get it.

“Not being Irish makes it even harder to navigate the system, as it is hardly existing and mostly relies on who you know.

“I hope the government soon steps in and adjusts the system, because fixing working hours alone would fix a lot of the problems.”

‘Childminders are very unhappy about the regulations.’ Deirdre, Kildare

“I am a child minder in Caragh, just outside Naas in Kildare.

“I’m a member of Child Minding Ireland, insured, in the process of renewing my Garda vetting, paediatric first aid-trained, HSE Children First course completed.

“The regulations being put forward do not in any way address the role of childminders. They say they have consulted with childminders, however, the regulations are really for centre-based facilities. Parents choose childminders because of their flexibility, home from home settings and low numbers.

“We are being forced to register with Tusla regardless whether we want to or not. We will then have to rely on an individual to determine whether our homes are suitable. This does not reflect the roles childminders provide. Unless we decide to register with Tusla and pass their inspections we can’t offer the NCS, which is being bandied about as the “holy grail”.

“These regulations will require us to alter our homes in such a way that they no longer are home from home settings and will require an inordinate amount of paperwork. The CMI online forum clearly shows that childminders are very unhappy about the regulations and are indicating that they will give it up rather than be forced to comply.

“It’s clear that when the regulations come into force the childcare crisis will only get worse. They’re currently aren’t enough facilities available, with centre-based services closing or closing off specific services like “baby rooms”, with childminders closing their doors too, parents will be crippled.

“One size does not fit all and surely if I’ve insurance, paediatric first aid training, Garda vetted and a member of a registered body, isn’t that sufficient to mind three to four children?”

‘It’s 1.5 years later and I haven’t been given a place yet.’ Kim, Clare

“I have not been able to find any childcare under the NCS. I was a stay at home mom or in full time education since my first child was born in 2018. I applied for a place in a crèche in 2019 and heard nothing back.

“I also applied for a place – in multiple local crèches – in 2022 and was told I’d be put on the waiting lists. It is now 1.5 years later and I haven’t been given a place yet.

“I only work part time because of this and my partner minds our kids while I work. We don’t have any other options as a non-NCS childminder would be too expensive and we don’t have any family available to mind them.”

‘It’s become a real source of stress for us as a family.’ Sarah, Dublin

“I’ve been trying to get a crèche place for my now seven-month-old daughter since I was maybe seven/eight weeks pregnant. So far, we’ve had no luck, and I’m starting to get worried as I’m due back to work in September.

“We’re now considering a childminder to bridge the gap but it’s become a real source of stress for us as a family. We live in Portmarnock where countless new build houses are being developed, but with no additional childcare facilities in the area.”

‘Staying home with our child for the first three years isn’t our first choice but may be our only option.’ Laura, Clare

“From when I was twelve weeks pregnant we have been looking for childcare in Co Clare. We do not live near Ennis but also hear similar stories from our friends who live there.

“Our unborn child is on a waiting list for two creches and four childminders – yes, a waiting list. No place is confirmed.

“I recently went back to college to retrain in a new field and my husband is self-employed. Staying home with our child for the first three years isn’t our first choice but may be our only option.

“Our parents are all still working but regardless we wouldn’t expect them to take care of our child while we work. Right now, we would pay whatever a childcare fee was asked for just to have a guarantee of a childcare place.

“This baby is not due until August but childcare for 2025 is becoming an increasing concern for us.”

‘All the effort I’ve put into getting a job in Ireland, improving my English, and paying taxes is going down the drain.’ Anonymous, Waterford

“I came to Ireland to learn English in 2016 (I was 27 years old). I worked as an au pair for one year minding three children – one baby that was around four months old, a three-year-old and a five-year-old.

“In 2017 there were some scandals around au pairing in the news – abusive families and lack of regulations etc. A few years on, the Irish government decided to classify au pair job the same as a a live-in cleaner. Au pair is a well known program that is recognised in many countries around the world. The main objective is for the au pair is to learn English, have an cultural experience abroad and get some money to go out at the weekends. The highest money paid to an au pair at the world is something around €800. Au pair is not a cleaner and cannot be consider as a full time qualified worker.

“The au pair will do anything related to the child only, such as washing the children’s clothes, make breakfast bring to school etc, general tidy ups. That excludes cleaning the house, ironing, washing or hanging adults clothes etc. An au pair is NOT a maid. Au pairing is the best option for many people that cannot afford the expensive rates of an English school that surpasses the annuity of an Irish university.

“As a European, with now good English, I have completed university in Ireland and now I have a six-month-old baby of my own with my Irish partner.

“I was told to place the name on the list at the creche that are few steps down the road when I got pregnant. I thought how silly that was as the baby was not even born yet, we hadn’t even decided on a name for him. The creche down the road at the time was our best option, a bit expensive but affordable.

“When my son was four months I rang and her comment was, ‘I cannot guarantee, we always ring when there is a place, but for sure, we will have nothing available for him until he turns at least two years old’.

“I am a project engineer. I work remotely from home. I didn’t see myself as a fulltime mom, and after so much effort I put into getting a job in Ireland, improving my English, paying taxes, having a car of my own, paying insurance etc, that went all to the drain with that answer.

“After a few searches online I discovered I would need to pay a minimum salary for the childminder and she will very likely mind my baby together with five more other kids of different ages at her home.

“I am 35 and recently graduated. I make not much more than the minimum pay. We have relatives with three kids that couldn’t afford childminding neither have the space for host an au pair. She is seeing her partner getting promotions and growing personally and financially while she is now a full time mom, and as much she enjoys that, she feels as she is sacrificing her career and precious time of her life, she will probably never have that back, or be able to achieve the same growing in carrier that her male partner did.

“The best option that I had was to go get an au pair. So I did. And even so, after only six months of paid maternity leave, I could see that a lot have changed and that the company wasn’t expecting me to be back so early, and that the male that was at my position was getting more opportunities that I got after having been there longer. I saw people beeing promoted to management positions that before my pregnancy were mentioned that I was going to get.

“I have no family in Ireland, and my partner’s family to mind our child is not an option as we live far from each other. Would I prefer to have a young graduated Irish child minder calling to my home from 9 until 5pm every day? Yes I would. Can I afford that option? NO.

“If the creche didn’t have a limit of kids, maybe I could have got a space in there. Would I prefer that option to an au pair or a private childminder? Probably not, but at least I would have an option.”

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‘My wife and I are considering emigration.’ Dominic, Dublin

“We have had a huge issue with childcare. We cannot get our son a place anywhere in South Dublin.

“We have been given two places and on both occasions they have cancelled on us, stating they over booked. The cost is also outrageous, being quoted €1,420 per month.

“It’s got to the point where both my wife and I are considering emigration. We are both professionals one working in IT and the other in healthcare.”

‘I am pregnant again and probably will go back to Spain when the baby is born.’ Ana

“My baby was born in March 2023. I tried to find a creche when she was six months old (thinking to have a spot for her at one year old). At the beginning I started in my area and when I saw the situation I open the search area.

“The answers were: “waiting list for September 2026”, “we do not have now waiting list because the number of people asking for place is crazy and the waiting list would be for years.”

“Result: now I am pregnant again and probably when she/he is born we will go back to Spain because I am in an absence of leave because of this situation and with just one salary it is impossible to pay the rent in Dublin. At least there we have creches and family over there. It’s a pity.”

‘They wanted a €1,200 non-refundable deposit five months before the child was even born.’ Sarah, Dublin

“Myself and my husband both have good jobs with a decent salary. We have a two and and four-year-old in crèche 5km away from the house and we live in Ballinteer, Dublin. The nearest crèche place we could find is in Sandyford. It was incredibly stressful finding a place.

“When I was four months pregnant, I found a spot in Dundrum but they wanted a €1,200 non-refundable deposit five months before the child was even born, due to start crèche 18 months later. How is that even legal? I hadn’t even had a 21-week scan yet.

“Now my four-year-old starts school in September and will finish at 1.30pm every day. I cannot find any place in any after school in the surrounding areas. It’s madness. We don’t have any family here to help us. I work full time until 5.30pm every day. If I have to reduce my hours and give up work it’s actually a cost to the state with the reduction in tax revenue.

“It was hard enough getting back to the workforce after kids. I feel like we are living in the 60s. Do we have to leave Dublin to get childcare?

‘I try to organise my life to spend as much time with the kids as possible.’ Jane

“Childcare in my area was not available, but I was lucky have a creche near my workplace. This is my second child so I knew I need to book a place the second thing after having positive pregnancy test (the first thing being to book an appointment with maternity hospital and third being notifying family of my pregnancy).

“The cost is “affordable” - €1,300 per month, which would be slightly over €1,000 with subsidy. Notice the ‘would’, because I try to organise my life to spend as much time with the kids as possible, working in the evenings after they go to sleep, which results in shorter amount of time in creche (which is supposed to be a good thing, I believe), which results in the subsidy cut because my child is not attending nine hours per day.

“Do I pay less for them attending shorter? No. Is there a possibility to put them in a part time childcare to save? Absolutely not, there are no providers that would do six hours per day. So. It is what it is.”

’136 parents contacted me for a space in my home in the last 14 months.’ Laura, Dublin 18

“I am a childminder, minding 3 children in my home in Deansgrange. I only started last January and in 14 months I have had 136 parents contact me for a space in my home and it’s mostly because there are no childcare spaces in Dublin 18 where I live. 
“Unfortunately with the new regulations that are due to come in next September and inforced in 3 years time it is going to drive a lot of childminders out of industry or drive more childmidners under ground. It will also cause new adults who might be considering taking up childminding to avoid due to the lengthy and complicated process involved. 
“It’s really frustrating how many news paper articles make it seem as though from next September all childminders will easily be able to privide ncs subsidies. It’s made out to sound as if it’s a simple process of filling a form and signing or something as easy as that. But parents are due to get a serious shock when they realise most childminders will not be signing up because the process is going to be very complicated. There are so many rules and regulations and steps to get approved to provide ncs.
“If 136 parents have contacted me in just over 1 year then imagine how bad it will be when there are less childminders working in the industry.
“Things surrounding the childcare crisis are due to get much worse for parents and the government are just digging a deeper hole.”

‘There is no way of ‘beating the system’ by being organised.’ Claire, Dublin 

“We put our daughter’s name down for various crèches when I was three months pregnant (in 2022), and started putting her name down on various ECCE waiting lists when she was a couple of months old. She is now 16 months old, with no space available in a crèche until 2026 and so far no spot for ECCE in September 2025.

“I have no idea what anyone is supposed to do – there is no way of ‘beating the system’ by being organised. The places just don’t exist.

“In the meantime, we are paying a childminder €90 per day to mind her in home alongside other children with no government subsidies [as she is unregistered].” 

‘How can mothers return to work where there is no affordable childcare?’ Caroline, Dublin 14

“There are no available crèche places where we live in Dublin 14. We are on 11 waiting lists. The NCS has resulted in more people using a crèche as opposed to a child minder. They used to be closer in price. Now crèches are considerably cheaper.

“How can mothers return to work where there is no affordable childcare? I cannot see any short-term solution.”

Here are some more thoughts and experiences that readers shared on Instagram:

  • Our incredible afterschool was cancelled by the school post a bizarre tender. So stressful!
  • Shift work so there’s simply no childcare available anyway. Hoping work will allow parental leave days.
  • Childcare is more than affordable. The staff minding your child is still being paid an embarrassingly low wage. Your children are so important! We pay so little for the things we should value the most
  • Taking a career break to mind my three children because it wouldn’t be worth working if paying for three.
  • Applied for childcare before child was born. 17 children ahead of him and we don’t even need it until January 2025
  • I had to throw my career in the bin because I can’t afford someone to drop and collect my son in school.
  • I had to quit work because of no placement for my child
  • I literally rely on whoever I can get to help me because I’m a full time working single parent
  • In the last three years, the support of the government increased and it’s a big help – 2020 I paid €1,300 monthly for one kid. Now 2024 I pay €1,350 for two kids!
  • I finish work at six and late child care is impossible to find – nobody talks about it.

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