A new report finds the cost of childcare is preventing 56% of people on lower incomes from working.
The first ever investigation into childcare costs in Ireland finds that full-time childcare for two children a year is €16,500.
The report was carried out by the Indecon International Economic Consultant Group, and its author Alan Gray says Ireland has the second highest cost of childcare in the OECD, as a percentage of the average wage.
He says it's hardest for single parents, who have to spend almost half their earnings on childcare if they're on the average wage.
"Low-income families or single parents are less likely to leave unemployment, more likely to be long-term unemployed and more likely to be in risk of poverty, " Mr Gray said.
Avril McMonagle from the Donegal County Childcare Committee - which commissioned the report - is hoping the government will now take action.
"We are hoping now that the appropriate Government departments will take this, they will look at it seriously and they will try to implement some of the recommendations we have made," she said.