Parents are forced to earn up to €30,000 a year just to fund creche places for two children, underlining the crippling cost of childcare.
An Irish Independent survey has found that families are facing bills of up to €2,035 a month to keep a baby and toddler in childcare.
That equates to a gross salary of €30,000, or €2,071 a month after tax - leaving virtually nothing after childcare is covered.
Our survey found the average price of a creche place was €888 for a baby and €1,596 for two children.
Costs are significantly higher in the capital, where the average price was €1,053 for a baby and €1,884 for two.
A recent survey found 63pc of parents were struggling to meet their childcare costs. And figures from the Central Statistics Office show parents have also been hit with a 2.4pc rise in childcare costs in the last year.
Teresa Heeney, of Early Childhood Ireland, said the Government must now seriously consider giving a capitation grant per child to creches to help subsidise high-quality care for children.