Facing up to the crisis in chidcare
Published 10/07/2015 | 02:30
You would have to look very slowly to see where the constitutional commitment to the family is reflected in modern Irish society as far as the Government's supporting role is concerned.
Parents and children have had to absorb a raft of cuts in benefits at the same time as they faced crèche fee hikes and the soaring cost of school uniforms.
The truth is that childcare is challenged at every turn.
Evidently stung into action by the prospect of an election, the Government is bringing in proposals to tackle the childcare crisis.
Much is made of an extension of the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Programme. But parents struggling to get out the door to work and still have their children minded, will not find their lives transformed.
It will also be interesting to see how the six months of paid parental leave on top of maternity benefit will play with employers. It is they who will have to bear the cost of a replacement.
Paternity leave for fathers is to be welcomed. It is up to the State to guarantee that these measures are not just aspirational but will have a legal and financial footing.