Trade union says childcare issues have fallen off the political agenda

People working in the childcare sector are earning below the recommended average

Trade union says childcare issues have fallen off the political agenda

Dominic Lipinski / PA Wire/Press Association Images

A trade union has cautioned that issues surrounding investment in childcare services have fallen off the political agenda, despite being a core discussion point during the election.

Kevin Callinan of IMPACT has said that little is currently being said about childcare and that it must become a priority again.

''We want more focus on the really important need for investment in childcare services. We're (Ireland) way below the OECD average and the recommended levels of investment in childcare", Mr Callinan said.

"That will drive up standards and quality and which will ensure that we achieve the professionalisation'.'

Many of the 30,000 people employed in childcare services, earn just over €5,000 per year, despite the high cost of childcare for parents, according to a recent survey conducted by ICTU.

And a leading expert in the professionalisation of early year services has said that changes in society require greater investment in this area.

''There's been a revolution in women's employment so women need childcare. And there's been a revolution in our understanding about children and what they can do. So for those two reasons, we need a professional workforce. we need the provision for children and we need it to be staffed by more qualified people,'' Professor Helen Penn said.

Prof Penn also added that the next government must present clear objectives regarding the framework and criteria involved in professionalising the sector.