May 11, 2015

83% of parents believe Ireland is experiencing a childcare and/or early education crisis highlights its response to the Irish Government’s call for input into Future Investment in Early Years and School-Age Care and Education. is Ireland’s biggest online parenting community and so was best placed to engage mums nationwide to have their say in this report submitted only hours ago to Government officials.

The subject of quality and affordable childcare and education is one that our MummyPages mums are passionate about with 2,418 mums participating in this the country’s largest ever survey on the childcare crisis facing the Republic of Ireland.  Surprisingly there is little disparity between the views of working mums and their stay-at-home counterparts who engaged in the research.

The solutions proposed by mums are not only practical and achievable, but if led by Government investment and in partnership with the childcare sector, primary schools and employers; meaningful change could take place.

Key Mum Insights:

  • 83% of parents believe Ireland is experiencing a childcare and/or early education crisis
  • 94% of mums say private childcare is too expensive
  • The Norwegian model of childcare and early education was voted favourite by mums even if implementing it meant higher taxes and a reduced child benefit payment
  • 89% of mums think that private childcare should be subsidised by the government
  • 93% of parents think the government should provide a subsidy to all schools running after-primary-school care programmes to make childcare more affordable for working parents
  • 77% of stay-at-home and part-time employed parents and would consider returning to the workplace full-time if childcare was more affordable
  • 69% of employed and self-employed parents say that the high cost of childcare has impacted their decision to change career or seek flexible/part-time work
  • 84% of working parents struggle to budget for their children’s childcare costs
  • 71% of working mums want more flexibility with their working hours when caring for children up to age 12
  • 88% of parents think that large employers of 200+ staff should be government funded to provide onsite subsidised childcare facilities for working parents
  • 100% of parents think employers should be supported by the government to facilitate flexible employment arrangements to support mums returning to the workplace after maternity leave
  • 89% of parents think the government should introduce a second free pre-school year
  • 82% of stay-at-home parents say free pre-school year greatly benefitted them and their child by offering social and independent learning opportunities while also easing the transition to primary school

According to Laura Haugh, Mum-in-Residence for the Government is merely using the childcare debate as an election tactic:

“Unfortunately the childcare debate is not new. Reports have been coming out from OECD in Europe for the last 20-years highlighting the significantly higher comparative cost of childcare and yet here we are still in crisis.  This working group is no different to the one put together by the Government in 1997, 2000, 2006 and today.”

“Recommendations and proposals made by the childcare sector, children’s charities and most importantly parents, are compromised by the lack of real investment available from Government funds. Instead what is offered are small concessions with the promise of more, which of course never materialises.”

“In this latest forum for public consultation on this national crisis, parents were given a mere week to have their say with the online survey given such little promotion that it had to be extended by a further 10-days at the last minute.”

“Our mums not only want to have their say, they want to be heard and they want real action. This is why the online community conducted our own independent research with our vast national community. We didn’t want to be overshadowed by another body or industry agenda, we didn’t want our mums’ voices to dull to a whisper and die in a Government vacuum – we want to be taken seriously. The ‘Childcare Crisis’ should not be used to win votes.”