Fianna Fáil Press Office
Lorraine Clifford Lee
Dublin Fingal

19 February 2016

Reilly Playing a Cynical Game with Low Income Parents

Fianna Fáil candidate for Dublin Fingal Lorraine Clifford Lee has criticised Minister for Children James Reilly for playing politics with childcare for low-income families.

Speaking following Minister Reilly’s announcement of funding to allow low-income households in receipt of a childcare subsidy under the Community Childcare Scheme, to use this subsidy in private providers, Ms Clifford-Lee said: “It is essential that community childcare places – whether provided via non-profit or for-profit providers – are made available in all areas of the country.

“However, the Minister’s claim that 8,000 children will benefit from this new scheme is another election gimmick, not an actual, realistic policy goal.

“Pobal currently pays a capitation fee per community childcare place for low income children of €95 for 5 days of full day-care (if they also qualify for a medical card ) or €45 if they do not. However, the cost of a full day care place in a private provider is €172 per week, and much more in many areas, including most areas of Dublin, where upwards of €200 per week is the norm.

“Since there is no increase in capitation fees, the expectation that private providers will step into the void and provide 8,000 places seems extremely optimistic, especially given the fact that the hardest places to currently find a community childcare place also happen to be the most expensive areas for private childcare.

“Without an increase in the subsidised rate given to low-income parents – which is not being proposed – they will not be able to afford to take up a place in a private childcare provider.

“For example, a single parent in a low income household (medical card holder) would be given €95 under this scheme, but would have to pay €105 per week to get their child into a place in a private provider in Dublin.

“As the Minister knows only too well, this level of fee would simply not be affordable for a parent below this income threshold. This announcement – promising parents that they will be able to access affordable childcare without making real provision for this – is politics at its most cynical,” added Ms Clifford-Lee.
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