Fianna Fáil General Election candidate for Wicklow Cllr Jennifer Cuffe has dismissed proposals put forward by the Labour Party on childcare.
Cllr Cuffe pointed out that the Labour Party has done little to reform childcare over the last five years, and says Fianna Fáil is the only party which has put forward fully costed proposals to develop childcare in Ireland.
“People are skeptical of any policy proposals put forward by the Labour Party on childcare. They have been in Government for five years now. Despite this they have done little to reform the childcare sector and address soaring costs. Now the Labour Party is trying to tell us that, on the eve of a General Election, everything will be different next time around.
“The Labour Party is desperately claiming that the expansion of the Early Childcare Care and Education scheme demonstrates their track record on childcare. However the ‘expansion’ of the scheme is not what it seems. The free preschool scheme only covers 3 hours per day for 38 weeks, which means that parents working longer than 15 hours per week have to pay for other childcare arrangements.
“The Government allocated €47m for the expansion of the ECCE scheme, but a full expansion of the scheme would actually cost €180m. Most people saw that announcement for what it was – a token gesture aimed at buying off voters.
“How can we take commitments from the Labour Party on childcare at face value when they have failed to deliver on their promises in Government? Let’s not forget that one of the first things the Labour Party did in Government was to slash the lone-parents allowance despite promises made by Labour leader Joan Burton to protect it. The latest proposals put forward by the Labour Party smack of desperation. They are un-costed and unworkable.
“Fianna Fáil is the only party to address the issue of childcare affordability head on and the only party with proposals for directly helping struggling families with the costs of childcare. The Labour Party’s spin disintegrates under basic scrutiny and people will not be fooled by the Governments empty promises on childcare.”