Photo: Minister for Education Jan O’Sullivan
Childcare costs would be cut to €2 an hour under a new scheme being promised by Labour if the party is returned to Government.
Parents would be able to access a State-subsidised service for children aged from nine months to 12 years, for 40 hours a week.
It would mean a dramatic reduction in the national average of €4.25 an hour that working parents are currently paying crèches.
In Dublin, costs rise to more than €5 an hour and parents are shelling out at least €1,000 a month, on average, for one child in full-time care.
Under the Labour proposals the cost would work out at €80 a week or about €320 a month for one child.
With young families and working parents key constituencies in the forthcoming General Election, the national childcare scheme will be one of the main planks of the Labour manifesto.
The growing attention paid to this group was obvious in the last Budget, which introduced two weeks’ paid paternity leave for the first time.