Thursday 22 March 2018

Budget voices: No help for parents who rely on private child minders

Family of four: Ciara Morgan

The Morgan family, Sophia (7), Ciara, Olly (19 months), and Paul, at their home in Park West, Dublin 12.
The Morgan family, Sophia (7), Ciara, Olly (19 months), and Paul, at their home in Park West, Dublin 12.

Mother-of-two Ciara Morgan said she was hugely disappointed to be excluded from the childcare measures in the Budget.

"We won't benefit at all. It's so disappointing," said Ciara, who had to quit her full-time job in a pharmacy because the €1,560 monthly childcare bill was too expensive.

Now she works part-time and uses a private child-minder.

"The majority of families use private child-minders, so they won't benefit because their children are not in Tulsa-approved centres," she said.

Ciara lives in a two-bedroom apartment in Park West in Dublin with her husband and two children, Sophia (7) and 19-month-old Ollie.

"There was no help for people like us," she said.

Middle-income families are regularly left out at Budget time, she said.

She also said education costs for her family are "huge".

"My daughter's school is quite good as they have a generic uniform, so you can get it from Marks & Spencer or Penneys," she said.

"The school also have a book rental scheme, which helps.

"But then you have the voluntary contribution, which isn't really voluntary."

Ciara would also have liked to see an end to the Universal Social Charge, not the "minuscule" reduction yesterday.

Ciara says the family of four is struggling to fit into the two-bedroom apartment, but adds that they "console themselves" with the fact they don't have to pay rent to a landlord.

But limited space and rising costs mean Ciara is ruling out having more children in the near future.

"We just wouldn't be able to afford childcare costs, so we couldn't consider a third child right now," she said.

"It's difficult to commit to a third child, and to throw caution to the wind," she added.

"If we didn't have all the costs and some more room, we definitely would love to."

Irish Independent

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