herald

Monday 18 December 2017

Not enough to ease childcare cost 'on a par with mortgage'

Siobhan McDermott with her 18 month old son Christopher and husband Brian Redmond. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Siobhan McDermott with her 18 month old son Christopher and husband Brian Redmond. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Mother Siobhan McDermott (34) works in the financial sector, and her 18-month-old son, Christopher, attends childcare.

With childcare fees and a mortgage, she believes having another child may be a difficult prospect.

Mrs McDermott, from Killester, Dublin, and her husband, Brian Redmond (41), have welcomed the Affordable Childcare scheme which will see their creche fees go from €820 to around €750 a month.

They are also glad of the increase in the free pre-school programme.

"Christopher is too young for that right now, but he will benefit from it in the future," said Mrs McDermott.

However, she feels the Government should do more to help under-pressure parents who want to stay at home and look after their children.

"If myself or my husband wanted to stay at home and have one of us mind the child, there is nothing to ease the burden," she said.

"I'd like to be given the option to one day stay at home and take a tax-free allowance. I'm not asking for a hand-out, but there should be something to ease the burden on the other person's income.

"I don't want to say one day, 'Well, I had a great career but I barely saw my children'."

Mrs McDermott thinks the Government is driving people to work harder to pay huge childcare fees.

"If people were taxed as a married couple instead of individually, it might make this more possible" she said.

"The Government is focused on getting people back to work and putting kids in creches for high costs, not looking at the overall picture. Unless there's an option to stay at home or childcare gets more affordable or employers offer career breaks, flexible working and working from home, families will continue to struggle."

She feels more must be done to get more affordable childcare.

"One of the only ways is if it's deducted out of gross salary, then taxed. The fact you pay childcare on a par with a mortgage is a kick in the teeth," said Mrs McDermott.

Sympathy

However, she has welcomed the increase in Tulsa's budget.

"Anything that gives more money to child services is a good thing," she added.

The couple will not be affected by the mortgage interest relief cuts but they have sympathy for families who will lose out.

"I feel sorry for people who had it and will see it taken away. On the one hand they give us tax breaks, but on the other, they take this away, so are people really gaining anything?" said Mrs McDermott.

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