Fine Gael TD Regina Doherty expects controversial childcare insolvency guideline to be dropped

Thursday 28 March 2013 16.27
Regina Doherty called for a serious discussion on the cost of childcare
Regina Doherty called for a serious discussion on the cost of childcare

A Fine Gael TD has said she believes the guidelines due to be issued by the Personal Insolvency Agency next week will not contain the line on childcare costs seen in the draft guidelines.

The draft guidelines state: "Where a person is working and paying for childcare as a consequence of his or her employment, the cost of childcare should not exceed the income from the employment."

Regina Doherty said the Government wanted to keep people in work and would not ask them to give up the jobs they already have.

She said the purpose of the agency is to come up with financial arrangements that will allow families to stay in their homes.

Speaking on Today with Pat Kenny, Ms Doherty defended her party colleague Leo Varadkar.

Earlier this week he said that childcare costs will have to be taken into account in insolvency arrangements if couples are unable to meet mortgage repayments.

Ms Doherty said Mr Varadkar knows and appreciates what the vast majority of working women do in this country, both inside and outside the home.

She said women go to work for a variety of reasons and there needs to be a serious discussion on the cost of childcare in Ireland.

Meanwhile, Mr Varadkar has today said that the recommendations on personal solvency have not been published yet, and that there can be an informed debate once they are.

Mr Varadkar cautioned against scaring people who are in debt.

He said that childcare is not a luxury, and acknowledged that it is an area where the Government needs to do more.

However, he said it is a separate issue to personal solvency and deserves a separate debate.

Addressing Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s comments yesterday that nobody would have to give up jobs because their childcare costs are higher than their income, Mr Varadkar said the Taoiseach was correct.

He said that had also been his position, but admitted he should have been clearer and apologised if anything he said was contradictory.

Also speaking on Today with Pat Kenny, Labour Senator Ivana Bacik said it would be "clearly wrong" if the insolvency guidelines included the line on childcare costs.

She said the problem lies in any suggestion that the cost of childcare should force people to give up work or that it should be factored into an insolvency arrangement as a luxury like a second holiday or second car.

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