Irish families spend double the European average on childcare

Katherine Zappone has promised an independent review of the cost of childcare.

Katherine Zappone, Cabinet, education, government, Independent TD

Independent TD for Dublin South-West, Katherine Zappone, arriving at Leinster House in Dublin | Image: RollingNews.ie

The average Irish family spends 34% of their household income on childcare, which is double the European average.

New research shows that the childcare sector is facing a chronic staffing crisis with 86% of créches and preschools saying they're concerned about being able to recruit trained staff. 

The Children's Minister Katherine Zappone has recently promised an independent review of the cost of childcare. 

Speaking at Early Childhood Ireland’s annual conference in UCD, Minister Zappone said the independent review will feed into future policy development and review of subsidy levels.

The new research shows that 36% of those who tried to recruit staff in the last twelve months were unable to find anyone suitable.

46% of those who did manage to recruit had to settle for someone with lower qualifications than they’d wanted.

Of those who’ve had staff leave their service in the last 12 months, 57% cited working in the sector wasn’t financially viable as the reason. 

Overall, 49% of services were finding it difficult to retain staff. 

Crèche closures

Early Childhood Ireland, CEO, Teresa Heeney said "The staffing crisis is putting the very survival of the sector in jeopardy. Early years care as a professional career choice is now under threat due to the low pay and precarious working conditions.

"For instance, just this week, I learnt of yet another crèche closing as they simply couldn’t afford to keep their doors open. This not only impacts on staff who are out of a job, but on parents and most importantly on children.

"Sadly, this isn’t an unusual occurrence. We receive regular calls from services telling us that they don’t know if they’ll be able to open in September."