Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan Brendan Smith says parents across Cavan and Monaghan are still paying more than €120 a week on childcare costs despite claims from the Children’s Minister that prices would be dramatically reduced under the Single Affordable Childcare Scheme.
New figures reveal that under the “full day universal” payment, parents will only receive €20 a week and will be left with an average childcare bill of €130 a week in Cavan and €122 in Monaghan.
Deputy Smith commented, “The Single Affordable Childcare Scheme was announced with great fanfare by the Children’s Minister Katherine Zappone earlier this year. However, her rush to launch the programme, in the absence of necessary IT infrastructure, has resulted in a bungled system without an online application process.
“The Department is being forced to rely on the GP visit card and medical card system to deliver the scheme. This means hundreds of middle-income families across Cavan and Monaghan will miss out on their full subsidy and will see them paying well over €100 per child per week under this “affordable” childcare scheme. The €20 a week Government contribution will not see any substantial easing of the massive financial burden being endured by working parents across the two counties.
“Many families are paying thousands of euro a year on childcare; in fact the cost can be a multiple of their mortgage repayments. The fact that the Department has still not carried out a full analysis of the impact of the Single Affordable Childcare scheme on childcare fees is deeply worrying. We need to ensure that there are adequate supports provided to families using either community or private childcare facilities.
“The current scheme is unfairly penalising middle income families and must be reviewed as a matter of urgency. Minister Zappone must ensure that the IT problems, which have resulted in these errors, are rectified without delay so that these families are given access to their full subsidy and are not losing out on essential entitlements”.