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Efforts to make childcare in Ireland affordable 'must not be pre-election spin'

One group believes investment needs to be brought up to the EU average.

Image: creche via Shutterstock

THE GOVERNMENT IS being warned that introducing tax incentives to make childcare more affordable will not increase the quality of the service provided, and that further investment is needed.

Cabinet is expected to discuss a new ‘affordability of childcare’ scheme later this morning. Tax reliefs are on the table, along with a range of other measures.

However, chief executive of Early Childhood Ireland Teresa Heeney believes “the solution is simple”:

Increased investment by Government, in order to bring Irish Government investment from its current low of 0.2% of GDP to the European average of 0.7%.

She noted the plans follow a recommendation from the European Union issued in June of last year, that the link between poverty and affordability of childcare needs to be addressed.

Heeney said the quality of care being provided must be at the centre of any plans.

“The Government also knows, from international research, that tax credit initiatives do little to enhance quality,” she said in a statement.

“The needs of our children today and in the future must be the cornerstone of any initiative.”

She added that the working group to be established must not be ‘just pre-election spin’.

The Irish Independent reported yesterday that this group will look to support parents, improve learning outcomes, and improve access to work for parents.

A source told the paper that the Department of Children is eager to ensure any investment in the sector is wisely spent.

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Nicky Ryan

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