Fianna Fail Spokesperson on Children and Youth Affairs, Anne Rabbitte TD, has today expressed her complete shock that Minister Katherine Zappone was unaware of the huge issues facing childcare providers in terms of business costs.

This comes after Minister Zappone stated that “up until the last couple of weeks we weren’t receiving very many contacts from providers about concern around insurance costs, we weren’t”.

Deputy Rabbitte said, “It is incomprehensible that the Minister would describe herself as “stunned” toward this situation despite me and others having raised this matter with her for months now. I cannot understand how the Minister with responsibility for the childcare sector is unaware that creches are facing crippling costs in terms of insurance and business rates. As a public representative, I have heard from many creche providers who are afraid they will not be able to keep their doors open into the future.

“We have been hearing for months from many different businesses who are crippled by insurance costs, which have been sky rocketing recently. Creches are no different, and many providers report seeing twofold increases in their annual premiums. Many creches and play centres have already been forced to close down.

“The Minister needs to seriously think about how much she engages with the sector if this is actually the first she has heard from providers. Most public representatives I know are familiar with the issue of spiralling insurance costs and are aware that many creches are facing closure due to this. Minister Zappone needs to clarify what she meant by her comments,” concluded Deputy Rabbitte.