MY JOB PRODUCES graduates who enter Ireland's knowledge economy. To do my job better, I need some sort of break on childcare costs.
I don't expect to get a break on this request because I'm part of the squeezed middle class and don't have the time it takes to make big noises that mainstream media put in front of the Irish government. Nonetheless, my wife and I pay more than EUR 740 a month for childcare. That money puts three-year-old Dylan into a creche four days a month and it also offsets the cost of six-year-old Mia after school.
Because I've got the skills needed to cover for lecturers who are on maternity break, my work week extends farther from home base than ever before. For the entire 2013-14 academic term, I traveled 52 miles between classrooms two days a week. This year, I make the 34 mile run between two other campuses one day a week. Those miles are needed because there's no money in the kitty to employ part-time staff to cover gaps in the schedule. Nor is there any sanction for contract staff to offset part of the 25 teaching hours now on my weekly timetable.
So we motor on with increased wear and tear on the single car, using calendar reminders to notify us when it's time to get the kids before the shutters come down at 6PM every weekday. Fortunately, my wife has flexitime and that removes the dilemma I'd face with two different classroom sessions finishing at 6PM on different days.
While fortunate to have a steady income, I'd like to get a break on childcare. I think I deserve it more than the team at Irish Water deserve their salary bonus payments.
In a related report, UNICEF might agree. The numbers from UNICEF Ireland say our kids are much worse off now than at the start of the Irish recession.  UNICEF Report Card 12 shows a strong and multi-faceted correlation between the impact of the Global Financial Crisis and resulting recession on national economics, on the one hand and a decline in children’s well-being on the other. This means Irish child poverty has increased since 2008. In our personal case, it means 10 days a month with very limited food choice. It also means no money for trans-Atlantic travel so our Irish-born children will be unable to see their American cousins more than once every eight years.
The only way out of our current predicament is to continue down-shifting. That means we need to sell our home. We need to walk more. We need to cut back on traveling around Ireland to see immediate family members. Or I need to monetise more of my daily activities. If you're interested in how we dig out, please subscribe to my blog posts.