• Fianna Fail's backing the childcare industry's call for a 'living wage' to be introduced for all of its staff.

    Providers, staff and parents are holding a national protest on February 5th over pay and staffing issues in the sector.

    SIPTU says early years educators are paid an average of only 11 euro, 45 cents an hour.

    Galway Deputy Anne Rabbitte, Fianna Fail's spokesperson for children, says they should be paid at least the living wage of 12.30.

  • The Government is to cut the costs of childminders for parents under new proposals.

    Children's Minister Katherine Zappone is launching the Draft Childminding Action Plan today which aims to support parents who use Tusla registered childminders.

    According to the Irish Independent, the plan proposes extending the National Childcare Scheme that is used to offset creche fees.

    But the plan doesn't include parents whose relatives look after their children such as grandparents.

  • Increased childcare support for certain workers is being considered, as preparations for the budget continue.

    The Irish Independent reports Gardai, nurses and teachers could see targeted payments to help with childcare costs.

    Lower paid employees in the private and public sector would benefit.

    Negotiations between the Children's Minister and Finance Minister are set to take place in the coming week to look at budget options.

  • Challenges and costs in the Childcare sector must be tackled according to Mayo Senator Rose Conway Walsh.

    The Sinn Fein Senator says the Government cannot continue to ignore the challenges and costs in the childcare sector like costs, pay scales, recruitment, bureaucracy and funding of the sector.

    Sinn Féin proposed allocating €28m to commence a 5 year programme of childcare reform in their alternate budget which would increase pay for childcare workers and cut childcare fees.

    Her call comes ahead of the SIPTU ‘Crisis in Childcare’ meeting in Aughagower Community Centre at 7 o’clock tonight.

    Senator Conway-Walsh told Midwest Radio News a wealth tax could be used to finance their proposed change in Childcare services.

  • An historic National Day of protest by the Early Years Sector takes place tomorrow in Dublin.

    Early Childhood Education and Care Providers and Early Years Teachers in Mayo and across the region will be among thousands closing their facilities nationwide to take part in the protest.

    Ann O’Reilly SIPTU organiser in Mayo says the sector is in crisis, with childcare workers generally underpaid and increasing pressures on child care facility owners to meet strict guidelines and rising insurance costs.

    She’s been telling Midwest News more about tomorrow’s action.

  • Parents across this region are faced with increasing costs for childcare according to the latest government figures.

    There’s been an 8 percent rise in childcare nationally this year.

    Data collected from 4,000 centres across the country show average full-time fees are now costing 184 euro per week.

    Children's Minister Dr Katherine Zappone says parents should check the figures being released today to inform themselves about what they can expect to pay for childcare in their area.

    Her Department recorded the lowest full-time fees for children aged 2-3 in Co. Carlow at € 148 per week, with the highest in Dun Laoghaire Rathdown in Dublin at € 251.

    She says that despite record investment over the past four budgets, the cost to families remains higher in Ireland than in other countries across Europe and that's something she's determined to change.

    She's also urging parents to check out to see if they may be eligible for support under the new National Childcare Scheme which is being launched later this year.