Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin has admitted that childcare costs are preventing many women from fully taking part in the workforce.
Minister Brendan Howlin said improving the affordability of crèches and after-school activities is a priority for the Cabinet in the year ahead.
Ireland is now regarded as the most expensive country in the world for childcare, alongside the United States.
Minister Howlin said: "There is a significant impediment to some people doing what they want to do in terms of being full participants in the workforce because of the availability or the cost of childcare.
"That's certainly something on our agenda."