A survey has revealed two out of three Irish people want free childcare for the under-fives.

Up to 67% of those polled told Red C they wanted pre-school to be paid for by the State.

Support for the proposal is strongest in Leinster and Dublin, where up to 71% are in favour.

Frances Byrne from Early Childcare Ireland, says she wants it on the agenda for those talking about going into government.

Ms Byrne said: “It’s clear to us that the care and education of our youngest citizens is hugely important to Irish families so we are urging, on the behalf of our members all over Ireland, that the next government needs to commit to a 10-year program of radically advanced investment and reform in early years.

“This needs to be a priority, that is that what Irish public is saying.”

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