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Image / Editorial

Childcare in Ireland: 67% of adults believe childcare should be free to all children


by Edaein OConnell
13th Feb 2020
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A survey carried out by the Childcare Barometer has found 67% of adults believe childcare should be free to all children


A new survey has found a majority of Irish adults believe all parents should be supported financially to stay at home with their child for the first 12 months of the child’s life.

The Childcare Barometer published by Early Childhood Ireland discovered 68% of adults supported its proposal for parents to be financially supported for one year. 79% of women surveyed supported the idea with 59% of men also agreeing.

A total of 1,000 adults were surveyed.

What’s more, 72% believed the education of children under the age of five is as important as for those over five. 67% agreed childcare should be free to all children.

Redline issue

The current childcare system requires childcare providers to report into seven different government agencies and departments. According to this survey, eight out of 10 adults would prefer one single government entity which would oversee early years and school-age care in Ireland. A substantial 72% said the Department of Children and Youth Affairs should continue as a full department and not be downsized.

Speaking to the Irish Times, Frances Byrne, who is the Director of Policy and Advocacy with Early Childhood Ireland, said, “Childcare is a redline issue for families all over Ireland. Decades of historic underinvestment have led to a status quo in which providers are underfunded, staff terms and conditions are poor, and parents face high fees.

“This year’s barometer reflects a broad desire for a better approach to childcare in this country, including the establishment of the first-ever dedicated agency for our sector.”

Childcare has been under the spotlight in recent times, with extortionate rates being charged for monthly care. In December, these prices saw a particularly high jump after a main insurer pulled out of the Irish market.


Read more: A letter to my baby as I prepare to go back to work

Read more: Childcare in crisis: ‘People just aren’t going to do it anymore. The current system is broken’

Read more: Creche insurance hike: ‘Let’s stop pretending we live in a society that supports working mums’