Sunday 17 December 2017

Leo Varadkar apologises for childcare remarks

Transport Minister Leo Varadkar
Transport Minister Leo Varadkar

Treacy Hogan

TRANSPORT Minister Leo Varadkar today apologised for remarks on insolvency rules suggesting that women would have to give up their jobs if they earned less than their child care expenses.

He said he was sorry if he said anything that contradicted comments made by Taoiseach Enda Kenny that women would not be forced to give up their jobs if their child care costs exceeded their salaries.

Speaking at Dublin Castle today, Mr Varadkar, said the recommendations on personal insolvency had not yet been published and there was no need "to scare" people who were in debt.

"I know that child care is not a luxury. For some people it is like a second mortgage."

The minister, whose remarks sparked fury among women’s groups, said the Taoiseach was right to state that no women would have to give up their jobs.

"The Taoiseach is absolutely right."

"I'm sorry if I said anything that was contradictory," he said.

Asked by the if he regretted making the remarks, Mr Varadkar said he was happy to clarify the matter.

He has come under intense fire for saying that childcare costs would have to be taken into account in any insolvency arrangements if the outlay is preventing parents from making mortgage repayments.

However, he is stressing that nobody would be asked to give up their jobs but admitted the new insolvency regime would examine childminding bills in cases where such costs exceeded income.

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