More than 70% of adults in Ireland want the next government to prioritise greater investment in childcare, according to the third annual Early Childhood Ireland 'Childcare Barometer', published today.

It also shows significant support - 84% - for the creation of a single, dedicated childcare agency to oversee early years and school age care.

This would replace the current system where childcare providers are required to report into seven different government agencies and departments.

The Childcare Barometer 2020 also reveals that:

  • 72% of adults believe the Department of Children and Youth Affairs should continue as a full government department, rather than being downsized or merged by the next government;
  • 72% of adults agree that the education of children under five is as important as the education of children over five;
  • 67% believe that, similarly to primary education, childcare should be available free to all children.

The trends reflect the results of previous editions of the Childcare Barometer in 2018 and 2019, which also showed wide public support for early years.

Earlier this month, tens of thousands of early childcare providers, educators, and parents took part in a protest in Dublin city centre calling for greater government investments in the sector.