Sinn Féin is asking parents to relate their experiences in finding, accessing and paying for childcare ahead of the budget.
The party today launched its 'My Childcare Story' survey, where parents can log on to the party website and tell their stories. The party spokesperson on children Kathleen Funchion said that the information would be given to "the heart of government" in order to highlight the costs and obstacles involved in accessing childcare.
"We know that a lack of affordable childcare is costing particularly women career opportunities and for a lot of families is like a second mortgage or rent."
Ms Funchion said that wages in the sector were too low, while fees were too high, adding that Ireland was "sleepwalking into a privately-run and expensive system that cripples ordinary working families".
That is the reality that we hear daily from parents and workers in the childcare sector.
“We know that parents feel let down by the current system. Many women are locked out of the workplace because childcare fees are too high."
This week the National Competitiveness Council highlighted childcare as a "long-standing issue" which needed to be resolved in order to make Ireland a more competitive country.
The council's 2020 report says that Ireland should implement the findings of the Department of Children's expert group on early learning care.
Its recommendation reads:
Ms Funchion said overhauling the sector was necessary to ensure an economic recovery from Covid-19.
“The reality is that there can be no economic recovery without a childcare system that works for all.
"That is why the voices of parents are so important, and why policymakers must understand the real-life implications for getting this wrong."
Sinn Féin will launch its own plan for childcare within the coming weeks.