'Middle-aged male politicians do not seem to care about childcare'
Childcare has fallen off the political agenda just a month after the election, with negotiations on government being conducted by 'middle-aged men', a union has warned.
Impact general secretary Kevin Callinan said the additional free pre-school year was applauded by parents and providers alike.
But he said it was driving down wages because employers were now being asked to provide services "below cost".
Mr Callinan said: "The cost and quality of childcare was one of the biggest issues in February's General Election.
"A month later, it already seems to have fallen off the political agenda. The issue has barely appeared on the priority lists drawn up by the mainly middle-aged men involved in discussions on the make-up of a government. Meanwhile, Ireland lags behind most European countries when it comes to investment in early care and education.
"That's why Irish parents face among the highest childcare costs in Europe, while staff in the sector - including well-qualified professionals - are among the lowest paid in our economy."
He was speaking at the union's annual Education Conference in Dublin yesterday.