Aontú leader and Meath West TD Peadar Tóibín has voiced his opposition to the bias of Minister for Children Katherine Zappone against stay-at-home parents. Zappone’s proposals for the National Childcare Scheme takes no account of families where a parent fulfils the role of looking after their own children.

An Teachta Tóibín stated:

“Katherine Zappone’s move to provide no state assistance to parents who care for their own children is discriminatory. The Minister’s decision to purposefully block parents or grandparents from state support will mean that families across the state will suffer because they do not fit-in with the Minister’s view on how their children should be raised”.

“Aontú supports investment in childcare to help parents cover the massive cost of childcare in this state. Indeed, Aontú has called and campaigned for further investment to help parents who are struggling deal costs often equivalent to a second mortgage”.

“We also welcome the Minister’s proposal to subsidise the use of childminders. This should help relieve some of the burden for families where a childminder is the only option. But, this creates a really strange situation. If I mind my neighbour’s children and they mind mine, we could apply for a subsidy from the state. But if we mind our own children we are entitled to no subsidy. This will mean that the government will subsidise and incentivise every option of looking after children except mothers and fathers who seek to mind their own children”.

“There are many families throughout the state where parents with very young children are struggling daily to get their children in to creche and then battling hours of traffic to commute into work. Many parents are dropping very young children off at creche very early in the morning and picking their children up late in the evening to spend less than an hour with their child before bedtime. Many parents and children are frazzled and stressed with this daily grind”.

“Many of these parents would jump at the chance to stay with their children especially for the first couple of years, but they can’t. The government will subsidise every other option except the option of looking after their own children. Aontú believes that parents should have choice when it comes to childcare and that the state should help cover the cost of that choice. The Minister should not discriminate against one set of parents in favour of another. All parents and their children should be treated equally”.