Price of childcare averages €167 per week in the Republic

Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown is the most expensive area for full-time childcare while Monaghan is the cheapest

Childcare costs an average of €214 a week in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown and €142 a week in Monaghan, a survey has found. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Childcare costs an average of €214 a week in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown and €142 a week in Monaghan, a survey has found. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

 

Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown is the most expensive part of the country for childcare, while Monaghan is the cheapest, according to an official survey.

The Pobal survey of 4,300 childcare providers throughout the Republic shows prices in Dún Laoghaire are 50 per cent higher than in Monaghan. It also confirms prices are higher in urban areas.

The average price of a full-time childcare place was €167 per week between September 2015 and June 2016. Costs varied from €142 in Monaghan to €214 in Dún Laoghaire. Wicklow had the second highest fees, at €200.20, followed by Dublin Fingal (€296.79), South Dublin County (€191.37) and Dublin City (€187.50).

The most expensive area outside Dublin and Wicklow was Cork county, with an average price of €186.05, followed by Cork city (€179.96).

Strong link

The report suggests a strong link between childcare fees and the urban/rural location of services, with fees higher in urban areas for full-time, part-time and sessional childcare. The analysis also found fees are more expensive in more affluent areas, and services employing more highly qualified staff tended to be more costly.

A total of 104,441 children were enrolled in at least one of the Government’s three early-years programmes during 2015/16, an 8 per cent increase on the previous year.

About 25,700 staff were employed across the childcare sector, of whom about 23,290 worked directly with children. Others were in ancillary positions such as cooks, cleaners and administrators.

Just over half of the staff had worked in their service provider for four years or more, but the percentage who had been working in their current facility for 12 months or fewer had grown from 15.6 per cent in 2014 to 18 per cent.

“This indicates either an increase in the number of new entrants to the sector ... or else an increase in the turnover rate.”

Almost half of the service providers reported having at least one child with a diagnosed disability. Most common were autism spectrum disorder and learning disabilities.

The report was drawn up by Pobal in conjunction with the Department of Children and Youth Affairs.