SIPTU representatives have called for urgent action to end the crisis in the Early Years sector. The impact of the crisis is made clear in a survey by Network Ireland, released today (Monday, 2nd March), which reveals that nearly half of working mothers have considered giving up work due to childcare costs. SIPTU Sector Organiser, Diane Jackson, said: “Radical reform of childcare provision is needed to make it affordable and to support women in employment. In its survey, Network Ireland, the women-in-business networking group, found 49.3% of working mothers say they have considered giving up work due to childcare costs. Parents in Ireland are paying the highest childcare fees in Europe. This is threatening women’s labour market equality, career progression, educational attainment as well as public and political participation in Ireland. “That so many mothers consider that they may have to give up their careers because of the cost of childcare means it is an issue which is impacting on economic productivity by placing many workers under increased stress or removing them from the workforce.” She added: “We need radical reform of the childcare system that supports affordability for parents and high-quality services for children. Simply pumping more money into a broken system will not work.” SIPTU is calling for a doubling of state investment in childcare and the development of a new funding model as part of the ‘Together for Early Years’ coalition.