Affordable Childcare in Ireland is still very much a hot topic of conversation! There is little or no governmental subsidized full time day care, so when your children are young, you will end up paying a second mortgage untill they start Junior Infants..Ouch!
Ok, they have introduced one year of subsidized sessional care, known as the ECCE scheme, but reality is that’s still only a few hours, which means if you are working full time, you will have to pay to have your children minded after their sessional care.
Children can start Junior Infants from the age of 4, however this is a much debated age, as most parents only tend to send their children at the age of 5. Education is compulsory as from the age of 6.
Initially I thought this was really late, as in Belgium for example children would start kindergarten at the age of 2.5, but the Irish School system is very different as the closest we have here would be paid sessional care from the age of 3 , probably best known as Montessori. The Irish version of Kindergarten is called Junior Infants and Senior Infants, and only starts from the age of 4.
Even when the kids are at school, there isn’t such a thing as free pre school ( ie before school starts in the morning) or free afterschool ( when school has finished at 2/3/4) so also here you have to pay( which tends to work out at around 15/20 Euros a day per child) if you are not around to pick up your child.
Click here to get a list of http://www.hse.ie/ approved creches/pre schools by County. Those marked as community will have subsidized sessional childcare, which will be cheaper than privately operated creches, but have to compliant with all the rules and regulations related to childcare( there are many !)
Contacting your local Childcare Committee will give a good idea what services are available in your area.
In my case I worked full time, had our first son, and then returned to work 4 days a week, and my monthly childcare bill would have been around 500 Euros a month which is not tax deductible( Minimum 30 Euros a day). Once our second son was born, childcare for the 2 , 4 days a week was around 900 Euros( 10% discount for second child). I started my business shortly after the birth of my second son.
These prices are conservative, as I live in Galway which has a lot more rural creches where overheads will be lower than in Dublin, so you can add 20% for Dublin rates… ( hope you are not crying yet).
Once there are more than 3 children, the charges become astronomical and employing a nanny/housekeeper/au pair will work out cheaper.
I hope this has given you some food for thought!