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Q&A: Shedding light on two new childcare schemese

13th Oct 2016

Can you explain the new childcare schemes?

The two new schemes have been introduced under the umbrella single affordable childcare scheme. They haven’t been given individual names yet so we’ll call them “the first scheme” and “second scheme”. The first scheme is the “universal” open-to-all childcare scheme. It is open to all, even if you and your partner are both hospital consultants with a total household income of €480,000 per year

Affordable childcare scheme welcomed widely

11th Oct 2016

There has been a broadly positive reaction from children's groups to the new affordable childcare scheme, with the National Women's Council describing it as a breakthrough for the provision of childcare in Ireland.

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Paschal Donohoe told the Dáil that the €35m Single Affordable Childcare Scheme would be introduced in September 2017.

Universal childcare payment to be unveiled in budget

11th Oct 2016

State subsidy of up to €900 for all children between six months and three All parents with children aged between six months and three years in childcare will be entitled to up to €900 in State subsidies a year, in budget measures to be announced today.

The poorest families will receive €8,000 annually under the budget’s childcare arrangement. Minister for Children Katherine Zappone’s plan will see all parents, no matter what their income, receive some subsidy from the State.

Zappone to bring new childcare scheme proposals to Cabinet

13th Oct 2016

Minister for Children and Family Affairs Katherine Zappone will bring her proposals for the new childcare announced in the Budget to Cabinet the week after next.

The scheme will begin in September 2017 and provides for a means-tested subsidy for registered childcare providers and also a universal payment.

Budget 2017: Who will benefit from childcare package?

13th Oct 2016

The childcare package in Budget 2017 was never going to please everybody because there are so many permutations on how families structure their lives, depending on circumstances and personal preferences.

'Not enough places' for free childcare scheme Major Budget pledge is already cast in doubt

18th April 2016

Budget promises on free childcare are already in doubt, with major concerns about the sector's capacity to cope with the sheer numbers involved.

Risk that not enough places available for extended free pre-school year #childcare

9th April 2016

Childcare providers say it is impossible to extend their premises, opening hours, and staff to cater for all 60,000 extra children made eligible for the scheme in a budget move last October.



9th April 2016

Parents are facing a scramble for childcare after a warning that there will not be enough places for all children when the second free preschool year starts in less than five months’ time,

There is more wrong with Irish childcare than the cost

15th Feb 2016


‘Sand,” says Jamie (4). “I like to play in the sand. And we pick up the pebbles in the garden and then we count them. I like that, too.” Jamie was not as happy in his old creche, although he is a little too young to understand why.

But his parents, Barbara and Keith, know why. Their son had been attending a large, private childcare facility in south Dublin. “All too often we would drop him in the morning to meet a complete stranger in the room, as last week’s minder had decided to pack it in,” says Barbara. “We were rarely, if ever, introduced to new minders. The chopping and changing is very unsettling for young kids. There were staff shortages and minders in rooms with far too many children.”

Labour promises childcare for €2 an hour

14th Jan 2016

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Childcare costs would be cut to €2 an hour under a new scheme being promised by Labour if the party is returned to Government.

Childcare providers warn there’s not enough places available to provide the extra free childcare places announced in the Budget

15th Oct 2015

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Minister Reilly announces €85m childcare package in Budget 2016

13th October 2015

From September 2016, every child in Ireland will be able to start pre-school at age three, and to remain in pre-school until they start primary school Currently, children between the age of 3 years and 2 months, and 4 years and 7 months, are eligible for a year’s free pre-school (38 weeks) through the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) programme.. Children will be able to enrol in pre-school at three different points in the year – September, January and April. In line with this expansion of free pre-school, capitation payments to providers will be fully restored to pre-2012 levels.Add News Story here


Budget 2016: Families big winners as child benefit rises and free GP care extended to under 12s

13th October 2015

Families are the main winners from measures in Budget 2016, with free GP care extended to under 12s, additional free pre-school childcare and a €5 increase in child benefit.


After-school care is the missing part of childcare jigsaw

10th June 2015

Busy parents of primary school children may see it as a much-needed digout. They are waiting to see what the government's long-awaited plans for subsidised after-school care consist of.

Breda O’Brien: State subsidised child care is no Nirvana

27Th September 2015

Childcare is one of the biggest worries faced by parents working outside the home. They worry about the cost, they worry about the quality, and they worry about the long-term impact.Add News Story here


The average cost of childcare for two children is €16,500

16th September 2015

A survey conducted by the Irish Independent found that the average price of childcare for two young children in County Wexford stands at €16,596.

The most expensive surveyed is €21,060 while the cheapest surveyed was €14,040.

A survey of more than 150 crèches across the country found that costs can be as high as €25,200 in Dublin. The national average was more than €19,600 for two children under the age of three.


Joan Burton says people will have more money in their pay packet after the Budget

13th September 2015

TÁNAISTE JOAN BURTON has confirmed that the Universal Social Charge (USC) will be reformed in the upcoming Budget.


Cost of childcare as high as €25k a year for just two children

8th September 2015

A survey of more than 150 crèches across the country found that costs can be as high as €25,200 in Dublin.

The national average was more than €19,600 for two children under the age of three.


Blueprint proposes subsidised childcare for working parents

22nd July 2015

A Government blueprint on investment in childcare proposes that all working parents could receive State subsidies for children up to the age of 12 in crèches or afterschool care.


Resources not yet agreed for childcare package

22nd July 205

The Taoiseach and Tánaiste have said resources have not yet been agreed for the childcare package in the upcoming budget.


Here is what the government outline of childcare could mean for you

22nd July 2015

A NEW REPORT that looks into reforming investment into childcare in Ireland has recommended extending maternity leave.


Statement Regarding Childcare Report

25th June 2015

“We are happy to welcome the general thrust of the report, and its recognition of  the importance of quality experiences for young children and that the state must finally accept its responsibility to invest in early childhood, parental leave and quality and training supports.


Mary Lou says Joan Burton is ‘giving two fingers’ to the public

25th June 2015

THERE WAS ONE important element missing from the weekly Joan Burton versus Mary Lou McDonald Dáil clash today: Joan Burton.


Exclusive: Childcare strategy to save average family €1k per year

13th October 2015

Central to the €83m package is the roll-out of two years free pre-school for children aged between 3-5 from September 2016.


How much do you value the people who take care of your children?

6th June 2015

EARLY CHILDHOOD PROFESSIONALS will today take to the streets in Cork, Dublin and Sligo in a bid to secure a wage that is commensurate with their important role of supporting children and families at the key stage in the young child’s development.


Why do childcare workers earn such low wages while parents pay high fees?

5th June 2015

EARLY CHILDHOOD PROFESSIONALS are this Saturday taking to the streets in Cork, Dublin and Sligo in a bid to secure a wage that is commensurate with their important role of supporting children and families at the key stage in the young child’s development.


Proper childcare is for the common good – not just something for parents to figure out

4th June 2015

THE COST OF childcare is one of the big election issues and, as such, is a favourite in the kite flying department of Leinster House.


Ambulances are needed for 17 choking incidents every week

21st May 2015

CHOKING INCIDENTS SAW the ambulance service being called out 17 times per week over the past four years.


Why are Irish creches going out of business?

17th May 2015

Ireland has some fairly progressive childcare measures in place, yet still child-minding businesses are going to the wall.

(Newstalk) €100m needs to be invested in childcare sector every year

7th May 2015

LISTEN: Irish parents are spending double on childcare compared to Europe

The average cost of childcare is €700 per month per child, rising to €1,000 in urban centres.

Cost of childcare double EU average, while 10% of centres unable to cater for special needs

7th May 2015

One in 10 childcare services in Ireland have refused a child with special needs because they cannot cater for them.

The Oireachtas Health Committee is looking at the cost of childcare, as Irish parents pay double that of their European counterparts.

A survey has found parents need to earn €30,000 a year just to cover the cost of two children. The average cost is €700 per month per child, rising to €1,000 in urban centres


Background to the Early Childhood Ireland Submission

24th April 2015

The strategy is a key development for us as an organisation that is committed to learning through our work with the sector and beyond; listening to others across disciplines, departments and sectors; leading and influencing on matters related to early childhood care and education.   This strategy presents a unique opportunity to create the landscape and possibilities for our youngest citizens over the coming years.  This plan should not be limited in its vision by the current economic context. What we know, believe and want for our children should provide the blueprint, almost the ideal, but pragmatically a little beyond our reach. The direction we take and the steps that are possible should be mapped, achievable and incremental, leading to our overall strategic aim.Add News Story here


Consultations on childcare and early education

24th April 2015

The Inter-Departmental Group on Future Investment in Early Years and School-Age Care and Education Services is inviting submissions on childcare and early years education. This group is exploring ways of ensuring that current and future investment delivers more affordable, accessible and high quality early years and school-age care and education


James Reilly looks to parents on childcare

24th April 2015

Children's Minister James Reilly is seeking submissions from parents and other interest parties as part of a review of childcare policy being led by his department.


Open Thread: Is the cost of childcare preventing you from working?

16th April 2015

MORE THAN 3,000 mothers are leaving the workforce annually due to the excessive costs of childcare, says a new survey. This is costing Irish companies an estimated €68 million. The ‘Baby Brain Drain’ Citrix study suggests that 33,500 mothers plan to return to work on a full-time basis out of financial necessity.



Am I alone in Mummy Martyr stakes? (Why are parents so bad at looking after themselves?)

14th April 2015

O I WAS at the GP’s last week. Again. This time, about yours truly. Who has managed to pick up the mother and father of all bugs from her kids, which she just cannot seem to clear. You know one of those kiddy bugs, which they bounce back from within 24 hours of the amoxicillin entering their system, but which leave you floored for weeks.


Twinkles in a minister’s eye

8th April 2015

Few would deny that money devoted to early childcare and parental support is well spent. Studies by the OECD have found that Irish child-minding costs inhibit participation by mothers in the workforce and contribute to relative child poverty and disadvantage. But successive governments have been reluctant to provide the necessary financial resources to tackle that situation or disturb the view that a mother’s primary place is in the home. Now, as an election approaches, long and short-term political aspirations are being unveiled.


Childcare tax relief will not improve care quality, says lobby

31st March 2015

Parents should not be given tax relief for childcare on the basis that this would do little to improve quality or assist less well-off families, a high-level Government group will be told on Tuesday.


‘Parental leave plans will only work if radical childcare reforms included’

7th April 2015

Potential plans to allow mothers double the amount of paid leave they receive after having a baby, and to receive extra weeks off if they split the time at home with their partner, will only improve child services if they are backed up by a series of other wide-ranging reforms.


After-school childcare plans to target struggling parents

27th March 2015

Hard-pressed parents are set to benefit from a plan to use schools to provide low-cost evening time childcare.


Family Values: Parents’ choices reflect lack of funding by State

24th March 2015

The high cost of childcare is creating immense problems for many Irish parents. It is causing stress, preventing parents from working and driving them into the unregulated world of paid childminders.


Use of primary schools for childcare would be ‘band aid approach’

3rd March 2015

Early Childhood Ireland, which represents service providers in the childcare sector, has said the use of primary school buildings as a low-cost solution for childcare would amount to a “band aid approach” to a serious capacity problem. File photograph: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images


The Government’s reaction to our childcare crisis: divide and conquer

20th Feb 2015

LIKE THOUSANDS OF other working parents throughout the country, I was on the edge of my seat listening to Leo Varadkarspeaking on Claire Byrne Live last Monday evening. The subject was childcare. The costs. The lack of Government subsidisation. The absence of State investment in the sector. The lack of any real appetite on the Government’s part to take ownership, or any kind of real lead, on the issue.


Childcare workers in call for investment in sector

17th Feb 2015

Around 1,000 people involved in the childcare sector have assembled outside Leinster House in pursuit of better funding for the sector.


Expensive childcare is leading to an increase in underpaid au pairs in Ireland

17th Feb 2015

MANY IRISH PEOPLE are turning to au pairs and live-in nannies due to the high cost of childcare in Ireland.

Parents in Ireland currently pay higher créche costs than their counterparts in all other European countries. Childcare professionals say parents have had to pick up the entire tab for childcare costs because the government isn’t investing enough.

The Irish government spends about 0.15% GDP per year on pre-school services, compared to an OECD average which is five times that (0.75%).



10th Feb 2015

People working with young children are marching on the Dail next week. They are demanding pay which is in line with their qualifications and high standards.


14th Jan 2015

Ahead of the Cabinet meeting this morning, various Government ministers spoke about the pressing issue of childcare costs and how to make sure people with children can enter the workforce without crippling financial responsibilities.


Efforts to make childcare in Ireland affordable ‘must not be pre-election spin’

14th Jan 2015

THE GOVERNMENT IS being warned that introducing tax incentives to make childcare more affordable will not increase the quality of the service provided, and that further investment is needed.  


Howlin - Childcare costs are preventing many from fully taking part in workforce

14th Jan 2015

A Government Minister has admitted that childcare costs are preventing many women from fully taking part in the workforce.

Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin says improving the "affordability" of creches and after-school activities is a priority for the cabinet in the year ahead.


14th Jan 2015

Childcare spending to focus on after-school care Promise of second year of free pre-school care in doubt within lifetime of Government. 


Tax breaks and subsidies to help fund childcare cost

13th Jan 2015

WORKING parents are in line for tax breaks and subsidies to support childcare costs under a new Government plan to ease the burden on hard-pressed families.


Créche crisis: Parents at breaking point while workers call for strike over pay

3rd Jan 2015

CRÉCHE WORKERS ARE planning to stage a national rally because of poor pay – yet it was reported today that Irish parents are at breaking point due to the high costs of childcare.


Government officials rule out tax relief for childcare

17th Nov 2014

Government officials have advised against a tax credit scheme for childcare on the basis that it would unfairly benefit higher earners and discriminate against stay-at-home mothers.


20th November 2014

The Child and Family Agency - Tusla - has called for an urgent review of a decision by a District Court Judge to strike out a case relating to alleged breaches of childcare regulations.


The charges, heard in court today, relate to allegations of mistreatment of children highlighted in Prime Time’s ‘A Breach of Trust’ programme.

13th Oct 2014

A COURT CASE taken by the Child and Family Agency against the Director of Links Creche and Montessori has been adjourned until 18 November.


There were 6,500 children in care at the end of May

26th Aug 2014

OVER 6,500 CHILDREN were in State care at the end of May, a new report from the Child and Family agency Tusla shows.


Is one inspector for 21,000 kids good enough?… Fresh questions raised over Ireland’s creches

25th Aug 2014

CONCERNS ARE BEING raised over large inconsistencies in the level of creche inspections being carried out nationally, following the release of  figures from Tusla, the child and family agency. However, Tusla CEO Gordon Jeyes is insisting the problems have now been addressed.

The figures, which relate to 2013, show that 2,432 inspections were carried out last year by 42 inspectors.


Opinion: We can’t afford NOT to invest in childcare and early education

14th July 2014

PARENTS IN IRELAND pay some of the highest costs for crèches in the world. But the high costs are no guarantee of quality.

Parents in Ireland pay huge childcare costs – amounts that equate to a second mortgage. In fact, crèche fees in Ireland are among the highest in Europe, costing an average of over €750 per child per month, according to the latest report from Eurostat. Many parents are paying even more. It’s unsustainable.


Irish parents shell out for some of the highest childcare fees in Europe

6th July 2014

IRISH PARENTS PAY some of the highest childcare fees in Europe.


Opinion: One year on from the Prime Time childcare exposé – what have we learned?

28th May 2014

EXACTLY A YEAR ago today, RTE’s Prime Time documentary, A Breach of Trust, aired video footage that, to use a well-worn but entirely apt description, shocked the nation.


Efforts to improve standards after RTÉ creche investigation “have not been enough”

15th May 2014

STEPS TO MAINTAIN standards of care following a damning RTÉ investigation last year have ‘not been enough’, Early Childhood Ireland has said.


Creches under investigation again following more revelations about care

14th March 2014

THE CHILD AND Family Agency, Tusla, has confirmed that a number of creches are again under investigation, a year after an RTÉ investigation led to major concerns about the care provided.


Parents urged have ‘asthma plan’ for child sufferers as emergency care numbers are too high

5th May 2014

MORE THAN ONE in ten parents of children with asthma have had to bring their child to an emergency department because of the condition in the past year.


Childminders warn new tax rules will force more into the black economy

8th March 2014

UNDER NEW TAX rules proposed by the Revenue Commissioners, childminders, such as grandparents that mind their grandchildren at home, will have to fill out a 26-page tax return form declaring their earnings.


Childcare costs two-child families €16,500 annually

5th Dec 2013

AN AVERAGE FAMILY with two children would spend €16,500 annually on full-time childcare, according to a new report.


Funding of €900,000 for childcare staff training

15th Nov 2013

ABOUT 630 EXISTING childcare staff will undertake extra training this year as a result of a new funding allocation of €900,000.

Announcing the monetary boost for the sector today, Minister Frances Fitzgerald said it will provide subsidised support to allow the staff to fulfill imminent qualification requirements.

A further €1.5 million will be provided in 2014 for upskilling and further training.


Give Me a Crash Course In: affordable childcare

15th Oct 2016

Parents of the estimated 30 per cent of children who are cared for by childminders will be very annoyed to lose out.

Well that’s debatable because currently parents pay more for childcare here than almost anywhere else in the world. For many, it will make just a small dent in the bill. But this Budget 2017 initiative from the Minister for Children, Katharine Zappone, is certainly a start.

How much will I get towards paying my childminder?

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