independent

Sunday 20 April 2014

Catherine Cullen: ‘We literally meet in the car park and hand Evan over – and we’re the lucky ones’

*** NO REPRODUCTION FEE *** DUBLIN : 4/12/2013 : *** Commissioned by the Donegal County Childcare Committee and conducted by Indecon International Economic Consultancy Group, the independent nationwide report entitled Supporting Working Families  Releasing a Brake on Economic Growth, was launched today at the Shelbourne Hotel, Dublin. It was revealed that cost of childcare in Ireland is creating a barrier for parents wanting to return to work and the report examines potential policy options to address the childcare obstacles that exist as a barrier to employment. Pictured was Catherine Cullen. Picture Conor McCabe Photography.

MEDIA CONTACT :  Ciara Cashen, Insight Consultants , t +353 1 29 39 053    f +353 1 29 39 952  m +353 86 1940885 e ciara@insightconsultants.ie
*** NO REPRODUCTION FEE *** DUBLIN : 4/12/2013 : *** Commissioned by the Donegal County Childcare Committee and conducted by Indecon International Economic Consultancy Group, the independent nationwide report entitled Supporting Working Families Releasing a Brake on Economic Growth, was launched today at the Shelbourne Hotel, Dublin. It was revealed that cost of childcare in Ireland is creating a barrier for parents wanting to return to work and the report examines potential policy options to address the childcare obstacles that exist as a barrier to employment. Pictured was Catherine Cullen. Picture Conor McCabe Photography. MEDIA CONTACT : Ciara Cashen, Insight Consultants , t +353 1 29 39 053 f +353 1 29 39 952 m +353 86 1940885 e ciara@insightconsultants.ie

HIGH childcare costs have led Catherine Cullen to question whether she can afford to have a second baby.

The mother-of-one from Letterkenny in Co Donegal said she had always planned to have her children close together but the sheer cost was now putting her off.

Her son Evan is now 15 months old and she has to weigh up whether it’s financially feasible to expand the family.

“I always thought I’d have my babies close together and that would still be my preference, but really you have to wonder if it’s possible, and would it be better to wait till we’re more financially secure,” she said.

Catherine said she’s lucky at the moment as her husband Shane works a late shift from 5pm in a petrol station while she works until about 4.30pm as an administrator with Donegal Child Care Committee, allowing them to split childcare between them.

“We literally meet in the car park and hand Evan over, but at least we’re fortunate we can manage it like that at the moment,” she said.

However, her job contract only lasts until April, and Catherine said she’s aware not all jobs would be as flexible in the hours she works as her current one.

“It does make you think if another job came up where you had to work later, would I be able to work and manage childcare,” she said.

The costs would be completely unaffordable if she had to put two children in a creche, yet this was the dilemma facing very many parents, she said.

Catherine said she |knew other families |where the father was staying at home to mind the children because it didn’t add up for both parents to work.

It simply didn’t make sense that childcare costs would make it impossible to work, she said.

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