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Historic Dáil debate on Childcare to take place today

January 31, 2018

New Early Childhood Ireland-RedC poll shows major public support for increased childcare investment


As the Dáil begins its first debate on the new Childcare Support Bill from Children’s Minister Katherine Zappone this evening, Early Childhood Ireland is releasing top line results from its first ever nationwide opinion poll on public attitudes towards childcare.

Teresa Heeney, CEO of Early Childhood Ireland, welcomed the debate, commenting, ‘This is a momentous day for Irish families and for early years providers. The Childcare Support Bill is an important step in ensuring quality, affordable, and sustainable early care and education. Minister Katherine Zappone is to be commended for her ongoing efforts to address the historical under-investment in early years education.’

This evening’s debate coincides with the release of top line results from Early Childhood Ireland’s first ever opinion poll. The poll, conducted by RedC Research between 18 and 25 January 2018 among 1,004 adults nationwide, shows overwhelming public support for Minister Zappone’s agenda.

Key findings include:

  • 7 in 10 believe that parents should be financially supported to be able to stay at home with their children for the first 12 months of life, and just under 6 in 10 agree that parents should only pay for childcare in line with their overall income.
  • Only 1 in 4 agree that parents should be fully responsible for the cost of childcare suggesting better financial support should be made available.
  • With regards to views on education for those under 5, the vast majority (75%) agree that education for those under 5 is equally important to those over the age of 5. 
  • With regards to childcare workers, almost 6 in 10 believe that childcare workers are qualified professionals, like teachers and nurses; and a further 4 in 10 believe the rate they are paid is not reflective of the service they provide.

Frances Byrne, Director of Policy and Advocacy with Early Childhood Ireland, commented, ‘The results of this poll confirm strong support for a more publicly supported childcare system in Ireland. Early Childhood Ireland has consistently advocated for greater investment in early years and stronger supports for staff, as well as the provision of comprehensive parental leave. We are pleased to see that measures such as these enjoy robust support among the public, and hope that this helps to inform discussion and debate on the Bill going forward.’

She continued, ‘The Childcare Support Bill represents a significant step forward for childcare providers and for families. However, urgent issues such as paid parental leave, low pay, recruitment difficulties, and low levels of investment remain and must be addressed. The results of this poll show that there is a clear public appetite for meaningful action on these issues, which in turn contribute to the delivery of early years care and education that ensures quality for children and staff, sustainability for providers, and affordability for families.’

The full breakdown of results of the Early Childhood Ireland-RedC poll will be published next week.


For more information or media queries, please contact Grace Duffy on (01) 404 0644 or 086 1448768.


Note to editors
Early Childhood Ireland is the largest organisation in the early years sector. It represents 3,800 childcare members, who support over 100,000 children and their families through preschool, afterschool, and full day-care provision nationwide.

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