14:54 Tuesday, 21 June 2022
The Taoiseach has promised measures to cut costs for parents before Christmas but has not given further details.
Childcare providers are threatening to close for a number of days this Autumn if a fee freeze is introduced.
It comes after Taoiseach Micheál Martin said measures to cut costs for parents will be introduced before Christmas, but he failed to provide any further detail.
€221,000,000 will be available to childcare providers in September if they agree to freeze their fees.
The core funding was announced in last year’s budget and despite being just three months away, questions remain over how exactly the fund will be managed.
Joan O’Sullivan from the Association of Childhood Professionals says she is concerned:
“I never thought we would see ourselves coming to the end of June with many services about to close and closing now for the summer. We never thought we’d be in this situation where we haven’t got a clue [where the money is going], because obviously it’s not going into my pocket.”
Childcare providers warning
The fee freeze is proving controversial among providers, with the Federation of Early Childhood Providers warning that it expects hundreds of crèches to become insolvent if fees are frozen and the cost of running a business continues to rise.
For mother of two and host of Stretchmarks podcast Sinéad O’Moore, fee freezes do not go far enough for parents struggling with the growing costs:
“Ourselves, for two kids in part-time, including the ECC hours, is close to €1500 a month. A freeze just simply isn’t enough when the cost of living for families is going up and up.”
It looks like parents will have to wait until October’s budget to find out how the government plans to reduce childcare costs before Christmas.