Sir, - Once again, the issue of childcare has been raised because of a case which recently came before our courts and once again there is a predictable chorus demanding legislation for proper child-care facilities - an understandable reaction, since no such provision currently exists.
Despite Fianna Fail promises in the last election campaign, there are no tax-breaks where one spouse/partner wishes to stay at home and care for the children, even for a short period. In a country which has traditionally taken pride in the role of the family, why is this still the case? Is it because Fianna Fail does not wish to grasp this nettle for fear of once again being labelled as a party of reactionaries by our more vocal, well-heeled sisters who might accuse it of wishing to tie women to the kitchen sink once again?
These same feminists would need to move on as they are stuck in a time warp. Women have long since earned the right to work. Indeed, many mothers of very young children would leap at the possibility of a career break, as having a career does not ensure their liberation but their continued enslavement. Speculators, builders and financial institutions are the winners when both spouses/partners work outside the home as spiralling house prices absorb both salaries and women are more enslaved than ever as they "double job".
In the future, our era will possibly be remembered not for its transparency but for its hypocrisy. Political correctness is the order of the day, not transparency, and political correctness requires that we cannot discuss the fact that society would be better off if one parent (not necessarily the mother!) were in the home. We cannot discuss the fact that a great many women would opt to take even a short career break when their children are young. Those who know better insist that to work outside the home is the most important thing!
We should by all means have proper child-care facilities for those families where two parents wish to, or more likely, have to work. However, we must not forget those revolutionaries who might wish to care for their own children! Will Fianna Fail live up to its pre-election promises and grant them the financial independence to do so? At the moment, it is women from the lower income groups who are forced to mind these children for a pittance. Women's liberation? - Yours, etc., Eilis O'Donnell,
Freshford Road, Kilkenny.