Most Irish people believe childcare should be free
Do you think childcare in Ireland should be free?
According to the Childcare Barometer 2021 published this week, almost three-quarters of adults in Ireland believe the Government must ensure childcare providers have enough funding to operate under Covid-19 restrictions.
Over 60 per cent of adults also feel childcare should be available free to all children.
The Childcare Barometer is an annual survey assessing public attitudes to childcare.
In this year’s Barometer, 73 per cent of adults in Ireland agree with the statement that:
“The Government has a significant responsibility when it comes to making sure childcare settings have sufficient funding to operate under Covid-19 restrictions”.
An equal proportion (73 per cent) believe the terms and conditions of employment for childcare staff should better reflect their qualifications.
Other key findings from this year's Barometer found that 60 per cent of adults believe parents should only pay toward childcare in line with their overall income.
On the other hand 58 per cent believe parents should be financially supported to stay at home with their child for the first 12 months of the child’s life, however there was a notable gender divide in responses to this statement, with 65 per cent of women in agreement, compared to only 52 per cent of men.
Meanwhile only 30% of adults believe childcare settings should be open for all children during periods of Level 5 restrictions (as opposed to just catering for children of essential workers and vulnerable children).
The issue of high childcare costs and the lack of government support for the childcare section has been an ongoing issue for years, with childcare providers and early year educators marching last year in the hope to receive more government provided aide.
With Covid restrictions only adding to the difficulties of parents and childcare providers alike, it seems unlikely that the issue will be going away any time soon.