Thursday, 23 July 2015: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The Children’s Rights Alliance welcomes the publication of the Report of the Interdepartmental Working Group on Future Investment in Early Years and School Age Care and Education Services and calls for speedy implementation and investment.
Tanya Ward, Chief Executive of the Alliance, says: “This report, if implemented, will be good for children. It is essentially very child-centred in nature, calling for measures to make childcare more accessible to low-income families as well as improving the quality of services to children. We welcome the proposal to extend leave for parents in a child's first year and the emphasis on income-related subsidies rather than providing tax relief. This is a savvy – rather than populist – policy choice, and children will ultimately reap the benefits, as abundant research shows.
Unfortunately, the report does not deal with conditions of low-paid workers in the sector. Similarly, we would like to see specific proposals around paternity leave for fathers.
The key issue now is funding. The reality for parents in Ireland today is that childcare costs put massive financial pressure on them. Yet up to now – Ireland’s early years’ and after-school services have been pitifully underfunded, trailing at the bottom of the pile internationally. The current level of public investment in Ireland’s early years’ services is less than 0.2% GDP, compared to the OECD average of 0.8% GDP. This must change. We must invest in the services that care and educate our greatest asset — our children. Action and investment is sorely needed and must be forthcoming.”
For further information and interview bids, please contact:
Emma McKinley, Communications and Development Manager
Tel: (01) 662 9400 / 087 655 9067