I think this comment below the article from commenter LJM says it best:
"After my relationship broke up during my pregnancy I couldn't afford to go back to work. Rent and childcare just weren't covered by my badly paid job. Give me subsidised childcare over benefits any day."
Update: another commenter Chrissu writes
"I've three kids, a full time and reasonably paid job. Cannot afford childcare and herself minds the kids full time at home. The childcare allowance goes into the essentials. I would much prefer an affordable creche system with the 2 billion in childcare allowance invested in it, and the chance for herself to get a part time or full timejob or do a course. We would struggle even more financially than we do, even with lower childcare costs, but I would be happier for them to get more professional childcare help in their young lives now, which does benefit society in general in the longer term.
For those who argue against this idea, I would simply say, why invest in primary, secondary or third level at all? Answer being, investing in education provides benefits to society in the medium to longer term. Pre-primary investment would add to this."