Monday 24 October 2016

Labour subsided childcare - costing €2 per hour - attacked as 'election gimmick'

Tánaiste counters with scathing attack on Sinn Féin

John Downing Political Correspondent

Published 14/01/2016 | 12:52

Joan Burton
Joan Burton

Tanaiste Joan Burton has been accused of “an election gimmick” set of promises on child care which Labour pledges will cost just €2 per hour.

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In angry Dáil exchanges Sinn Féin’s Mary Lou McDonald said the Labour promise was “on the back of an envelope and not costed” as she dismissed the plans reported in today’s Irish Independent.

Ms McDonald said Labour in Government had broken all its promises on childcare and could not be relied upon to deliver the latest pre-election pledges.

“Your activities have hurt parents and children and  you continue to hurt parents and children,” Ms McDonald told the Dáil.

The Labour leader hit back and said the Sinn Féin leader, Gerry Adams, had “no credibility” when it came to his defence of  convicted tax cheat Thomas Murphy.

Ms Burton also said that Sinn Féin had a very bad record in managing alleged child abuse and she specifically referred to accusations involving Mr Adams’s past.

Read more: Labour promises childcare for €2 an hour

“He is a man who cannot even ‘fess up in murders,” Ms Burton commented amid angry scenes.

In a renewal of vitriolic Dáil clashes between Ms Burton and Ms McDonald, the Sinn Féin deputy leader said Labour had promised not to cut child benefit; had failed to deliver a promised comprehensive pre-school service; and imposed lone parent payment cuts without the promised improvements in child care.

“In fact you’ve broken every single promise that you made,” Ms McDonald said.

The Labour leader said the Labour childcare scheme – providing 40 hours weekly subsidised care for children aged nine months to 12 years at €2 per hour – will be fully outlined in its election manifesto. She said it would be fully costed and elaborated in detail.

Ms Burton also defended the party’s childcare record set against the worst recession in generations. She said the party was working on more quality childcare at affordable prices while also improving standards among childcare providers.

The Tánaiste also told Social Democrat leader Stephen Donnelly the Government did not accept EU criticisms of “a political Budget” delivered last October. 

Ms Burton said the Government was creating jobs and building a sustainable economic recovery.

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