'We have a long way to go' - Ireland's spend on childcare a fifth of UNICEF recommendation

Ireland is only investing a quarter of the EU average when it comes to childcare.

The trade union SIPTU has called on the Government for a major increase in spending, which currently lies at 0.2% of GDP.

The union says women are being forced into low-paid jobs and precarious contracts because they cannot get affordable childcare.

It is also urging childcare workers themselves to push for better pay and join a union.

SIPTU Organiser, Ann O'Reilly, is the spokesperson for the Big Start campaign that is pushing for a better deal on childcare.

Ms O'Reilly said: "Compared to other countries in Europe the UNICEF international benchmark recommends that investment in the sector should be 1% of GDP.

"In Ireland, we're 0.2%, the average throughout Europe is 0.8% so we have a long way to go."

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