Labour promises €2-an-hour childcare, if elected

Proposed rates would halve the cost of childcare for many parents

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The Labour Party is targeting working parents by promising to introduce €2 an-hour childcare if it is re-elected.

The State-subsidised scheme would apply to children aged between nine months and 12 years.

It would cost parents around €80 a week for one child - or €320 a month - compared to the current costs of around €1,000 a month in some parts of the country.

Education editor with the Irish Independent, Katherine Donnelly, says the proposal would cost the taxpayer around €500m a year and would be introduced on a phased basis over five years.

Early Childhood Ireland says the proposals are "astonishing".

Teresa Heeney of Early Childhood Ireland says the cost will be a lot higher than €500m a year, if the scheme is rolled out in every town and if childcare providers are to be paid properly.