Something must be done to support struggling parents facing huge bills to keep their kids in summer camps, according to Newstalk Breakfast presenter Aideen Finnegan.
She was speaking after The Irish Independent reported that families are shelling out up to €3,000 on average to keep their kids entertained during the summer break.
The paper reports that putting two primary children through two months of summer camps costs an average of €2,000.
If children are in secondary school and enjoy three-month summer holidays, that figure rises to €3,000.
On Newstalk Breakfast this morning, presenter Aideen Finnegan said working parents have very few childcare choices over the summer.
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“If you have a household where both parents are working what do you do?” she asked.
“I have a two-year-old and I’m facing into this and I’m suddenly kind of going OK, nobody talks about this, how do people manage? What do people do?
“The answer is they rely on grandparents – that’s great if you have them. You have to pay someone? That’s great if you have the resources to do that. Or you have to pay for the summer camps.
“If you have two kids in childcare and you’re doing up the sums and you’re suddenly looking at how many thousands of Euro per year you spend, you are kind of thinking to yourself, do I give up my job because I can’t make the sums work?”
She said Irish schools are open for 183 days per year – meaning there are 182 when they are closed.
“That’s fine, look I’m not looking at shortening the school holidays necessarily but I think we have to look at the whole system because we have a system now where we have so many double income households where we have two parents working,” she said.
“We didn’t have that more than 20 years ago. The early noughties was the first time that over half of married women were in the workforce so when you and I were growing up Shane, most women were at home.
“So, we’ve had a societal change and we haven’t had a working structure change at all – so how do you make that work if you’ve only got 21 days annual leave?
She said schools should step up and organise summer camps for kids.
“When people text in and say, they are our children, we have to mind our own kids, they grew up in a time when most women were at home,” she said. “It’s different now. We’ve had a complete societal shift.
“I know we say the Government can’t do everything, but you have to do something. If you want to keep people in work so they’re paying tax, contributing to the Exchequer, you are going to have to facilitate them working and this is facilitating them to work.”