Why is the price of childcare in Ireland so high and what can be done about it?

We hear from Mother of two, Lucy Barrett, who spends €2000 a month on crèche fees

Listen | 22:43

Raising a family in Ireland in 2022 is neither cheap nor easy. There’s the stress of finding a secure place to live in the midst of a housing crisis; the rapidly increasing gas and electricity bills that all households are struggling with; and then there’s childcare costs.

Families in parts of Dublin are currently facing bills of more than €2,500 to cover the cost of childcare for two children, with others making desperate pleas to simply find a space in the local creche for their child.

Minister for Children Roderic O’Gorman says he wants the average cost of childcare to be halved over the next two budgets and last week he announced new minimum pay rates for childcare workers as part of this plan.

However, despite this and other measures introduced by Government in recent years to tackle this crisis, parents — mostly mothers — increasingly feel forced to give up their hard-earned career in order to stay home and mind their children because the cost of a creche is just too high.


Irish parents “have heard a lot of promises about how the fees will come down or the fees will be frozen or childcare costs will be tackled, but they’re not seeing any evidence of it”, Irish Times features writer Jennifer O’Connell told the In the News podcast. “As one parent put it to me, it’s not scratching the surface of the problem for them.”

“The reality is this is forcing a lot of Irish families to make really heartbreaking decisions about whether or not they can have a second or a third child. We heard from a lot of parents who said to us that I can’t afford to give my child a sibling.”

Today, on In the News, why is the price of childcare in Ireland so high and what can be done about it?

In The News is presented by Sorcha Pollak and Conor Pope and produced by Declan Conlan, Suzanne Brennan and Aideen Finnegan.

Sorcha Pollak

Sorcha Pollak

Sorcha Pollak is an Irish Times reporter and cohost of the In the News podcast