Cllr Lawless Holds Public Meeting on Childcare

L-R: Cllr Paul Ward, Robert Troy TD, Cllr James Lawless

L-R: Cllr Paul Ward, Robert Troy TD, Cllr James Lawless

I hosted a public meeting on childcare in the Westgrove Hotel, Clane on Tuesday 29th September 2015. At the busy meeting I was joined by Fianna Fáil spokesman on Childcare Robert Troy T.D. I opened the meeting by discussing the costs and lack of available places for children when their parents are looking for affordable childcare solutions in Kildare North. As a mortgage payer with a young family I have experienced first-hand the difficulties in trying to earn a living while paying child minding fees. I understand the difficulties in juggling work, commuting all the while paying for child care and a mortgage.

I believe as legislators it is crucial we provide affordable yet efficient and secure child care facilities locally for families in Kildare North. I have met many families in various situations and a common challenge is finding a childcare services which works for them. There are only two community care preschools available near the Clane/Kilcock/Sallins areas, both of which are full. There is a serious need to reduce the cost of childcare, which in many cases can be over €20,000 per annum if you have two children. Solutions are badly needed and I believe my party’s policy on childcare can offer that.

Deputy Robert Troy outlined Fianna Fáil’s planned tax breaks for childcare fees. Deputy Troy stated that Fianna Fáil will look to bring in the Progressive Childcare Support Credit. Under this scheme a parent earning €35,000 will receive roughly €2000 per annum subsidy support towards their childcare costs while a parent earning €45,000 will receive €1,500.

FF will enable both mothers and fathers to spend more time at home with their newborn without having to worry about its effect on their career prospects or their ability to earn a living, extending parental leave to 30 weeks and introducing joint paid parental leave. The progression of this policy would have a complementary effect on areas such as parental choice, work life balance and child well-being.

In conclusion I made the point that we have substantially under-invested in childcare and education in recent years, with the result being crippling childcare costs for families. This failure to invest sufficiently in early childcare and education short changes children, families and the tax-payers because the return on investment is greater than almost all other economic development options.

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