Wednesday 16 August 2017

New childcare subsidy will do little to really help women return to work

Katherine Zappone has introduced a childcare grant, but Sarah Carey argues her goals to help the poor risk being undone and will do little to help women back to work

Children and Youth Affairs Minister Katherine Zappone Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Children and Youth Affairs Minister Katherine Zappone Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Sarah Carey

Sarah Carey

The population's political preferences are often categorised on spectrums, ranging from Left to Right or liberal to conservative. But when it comes to the Irish, choice is a more useful indicator of political feeling. Irish people want to choose their schools, hospitals, transport, homes and all manner of services that our relatively content socialist friends on the continent cheerfully agree should be publicly provided.

This passion for individual choice explains why we have our two-tier hospital system; GPs' practices run as small businesses; a plethora of school types to satisfy everyone's cultural whims; a love affair with cars; a gazillion one-off houses; and - despite the housing shortage - a refusal rate for social housing that, at one point in Cork City, hit 60pc.

This every-man-for-himself approach results in poorer outcomes for almost everyone (been on the M50 recently?), but is still largely brushed aside by the individual's conviction that, as long as they can afford to buy what hasn't been provided, they'll be okay.

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