People Before Profit’s call for State control of the childcare industry has been described a “pipe dream” by one provider.
The party has urged the Government to “fully nationalise” the sector and make childcare free for all who need it.
If implemented, the policy would be paid for by higher taxes on the wealthy and funds from the budget surplus.
Speaking to The Hard Shoulder, preschool owner Rowena Fisher said such a move would be unfair on childcare providers.
“It’s a pipe dream,” she said.
“We have to bear in mind here that 75% of childcare services… are private businesses.
“These are our businesses that we’ve put our life savings, our blood and tears into setting up.
“I’m still personally paying off loans for my little business.”
Ms Fisher said the Federation of Early Childhood Providers have estimated nationalisation would cost the State in the region of €5 billion and urged the Government to increase subsidies instead.
“[Parents] are paying very high rates,” she said.
“We all want to make it more affordable for them but the overloading, the admin and the losing control on our private business… is what’s making it very difficult for us.”
'Positive benefits across the sector'
People Before Profit Councillor Hazel de Nortúin and founder of An Teanga Bheo naíonra disgareed and said there would be huge benefits for both parents and children alike.
“It would give children free entry into childcare and expand the network,” she said.
“It would also then provide positions with the public sector payroll for childcare workers, which would then have positive benefits across the sector, giving them stability, decent pay.”
Cllr de Nortúin said she felt society currently does not recognise how important childcare is and feels nationalisation would change that.
“It’s a very important [role], one of the most important roles that we have in our society is working with children at such a young age,” she said.
“[Nationalisation would] keep people in the sector - which is also a difficult thing to do at the moment.
“No matter what funding is coming across in a piecemeal way from Government at the moment, it’s still very difficult to get people into the role.
“I just don’t think it’s very supported or recognised enough.”
In Budget 2024, the Government cut childcare costs by 25%.
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Main image: Children.