Improving the childcare sector is critical for Ireland’s competitiveness - CSI

September 22, 2021

Childhood Services Ireland (CSI), the Ibec group representing the Early Years sector, has today welcomed the National Competitiveness and Productivity Council’s recognition of the critical role childcare plays in Ireland’s competitiveness and how the needs of the childcare sector must be addressed as a crucial element of Ireland’s social infrastructure. 

The Council’s report highlighted the comparative high costs of childcare in Ireland and the effect on the cost of living for workers with children in Ireland which negatively impacts Ireland’s competitive position internationally. 

Commenting on the Council’s report, CSI Director, Darragh Whelan, said: “The Early Years sector plays a crucial role in Ireland’s social infrastructure. The effectiveness of the Early Years sector is a key determinant in Ireland’s attractiveness as a place to live and work. 

“Addressing affordability must be a top priority for Government in Budget 2022. With an average cost of 20% of household income, childcare in Ireland is inaccessible for some families due to low State investment in universal subsidies. Increased subsidies mean parents won’t have to choose between their careers and family responsibilities.” 

However, Mr Whelan raised caution that affordability for parents is only one element of the issues facing the sector and thus Ireland’s competitiveness. Mr Whelan outlined: “Budget 2022 must look holistically at the Early Years sector and recognise that addressing critical deficiencies in State funding for Early Years providers is crucial in improving Ireland’s competitiveness by making significant improvements to the ECCE rates and making funding available to providers that allow for improvements to staff terms and conditions. These measures are critical in ensuring a sustainable and quality Early Years sector that make Ireland an attractive place to live and work.”