Fianna Fáil local election candidate in the Killarney electoral area Niall Kelleher has urged the new Children’s Minister Charlie Flanagan T.D. to make the affordability of childcare and reform of the childcare sector a key priority in his new role.
According to Niall Kelleher, a father with one young son, “We all need the new Minister, Charlie Flanagan T.D. to tackle the issue of affordability of childcare. It is not good enough to carry on like his predecessor and fail to take adequate action. The Minister is new and we will give him time, however, it is crucial that we see what plans he has in place for tackling this crisis.”
“All of the changes that are required all centre on the need to ensure the well being of children and their families. What I have encountered from families in every parish and area that I have canvassed, is the huge costs associated with childcare. I’ve spoken to Grandparents, who in some cases don’t have the energy to look after grandchildren full time, but there is no alternative”, said Niall Kelleher.
Niall Kelleher continued “Throughout Kerry there are many fine childcare providers and family, friends and neighbours also play such a crucial role in the provision of care. However services are inadequate in some places and there needs to be a concerted effort to bring exorbitant childcare costs under control. There are families that I have met that are paying way in excess of their mortgage, for childcare costs. It is crippling young families and it is also damaging our communities, because of the stress and strain that these costs are placing on families.”
“I have received figures from my party colleague and Fianna Fail spokesperson on Children Robert Troy T.D. which show that childcare costs now account for about 29% of net income for a couple and almost 50% of net income for lone parents. The result is that many working parents are being put in the impossible position of having to choose between quitting work due to the high cost of childcare or continuing their careers while losing money. I know that Fianna Fáil has published extensive proposals on childcare reform that I believe would help to bring costs for families under control”, said Niall Kelleher.
“In addition, we are still seeking the Minister to immediately publish the long overdue new regulations for the childcare sector. There have been too many stories of grossly inadequate facilities and staffing levels at a number of childcare facilities. While the vast majority are run to a high standard, we cannot continue to allow a situation where the safety of children can be put at risk while they are in day care”, concluded Niall Kelleher.