herald

Wednesday 18 October 2017

Ice-creams all round as Fine Gael celebrate new €80 childcare subsidy

Mairead McGuinnes MEP, Minister for Finacen Paschal Donohoe TD & Hildegarde Naughton TD
Mairead McGuinnes MEP, Minister for Finacen Paschal Donohoe TD & Hildegarde Naughton TD

There were ice-creams all round as Fine Gael TDs took to Dublin's Merrion Square with their children to promote the government's Affordable Childcare scheme.

Among the measures kicking in this September is a universal subsidy of up to €80 a month to help the parents of about 33,000 children aged between six months and three years with childcare costs.

Alan Farrell, Dublin Fingal TD and Oireachtas children's committee chairman, said the purpose of the picnic in the park was to highlight how parents can learn about their entitlements at the AffordableHealthcare.ie website.

He said it laid out the various schemes, particularly for disadvantaged or low-income families, and praised Minister for Children Katherine Zappone for her work in the childcare area.

There was confusion when Mr Farrell appeared to confirm that the upcoming Budget would include extra funds of €150m for the Department of Children in 2018.

Both the Departments of Children and Finance said no decisions have yet been made in relation to Budget 2018.

Affordable

Mr Farrell later clarified that the €150m sum he mentioned related to the full-year cost of the affordable childcare measures that begin this September.

Aside from the universal payment, there are means-tested supports for lower income families.

This includes supports worth up to €7,500 per year for children aged six months to 15 years old.

The aim of this is to ensure that parents previously prevented from taking up jobs, training or education due to the cost of childcare will be able to do so.

Other Dublin TDs attending the event included Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe - a father-of-two - and Josepha Madigan, who brought her two sons, Daniel (13) and Luke, who was celebrating his 12th birthday.

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