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Sinn Féin to demand €500m for childcare to boost wages and cut fees

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Sinn Féin's Children spokesperson Kathleen Funchion said the sector has been underfunded for decades. Photo: Niall Carson/PA

Sinn Féin's Children spokesperson Kathleen Funchion said the sector has been underfunded for decades. Photo: Niall Carson/PA

PA Archive/PA Images

Sinn Féin's Children spokesperson Kathleen Funchion said the sector has been underfunded for decades. Photo: Niall Carson/PA

Sinn Féin is set to demand a €500m investment in early years childcare to boost wages and cut fees by up to two-thirds.

The party is tabling a private members' motion on the issue in the Dáil tonight.

Children spokesperson Kathleen Funchion said the sector has been underfunded for decades and highlighted the challenges facing childcare providers as they reopen after the coronavirus lockdown.

She said there are "very low wages for workers" and many leaving the sector for that reason.

Ms Funchion argued this will affect the quality of care.

She said Sinn Féin's motion seeks greater investment to improve wages with a proposal that a salary scale starting at the living wage be introduced.

Ms Funchion said fees are "extremely high" and women in particular are being forced out of the workforce as a result.

She said the increased investment would also be used to tackle fees.

Ms Funchion said the Sinn Féin proposals would cost around €500m initially and see fees reduced over time by 66pc.

She said that a scheme where the State covered 100pc of the wages of childcare staff during the crisis should be reinstated and extended at least into early next year.

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