Cork North West TD, Michael Moynihan has said that many community childcare crèches will struggle to accommodate the expected increase in parents seeking care for their children this September as a result in delayed grant payments.
Deputy Moynihan was commenting after a number of local crèches contacted him to express their deep concern and frustration at delays in receiving grants from the Department of Children and Youth Affairs for important refurbishment or expansion projects at their facilities.
“CCCs have applied for funding but have yet to receive confirmation if they have been successful or not. These grants can be used to expand facilities and to purchase additional resources to cater for the increased number of children.
“The Department of Children and Youth Affairs have said that they hope to issue approvals to the crèches next week, but that will leave just 4-5 weeks for any works to be completed in order to have them ready for September when many new children hope to be enrolled.
“This is another example of poor Government implementation. These grants should have been awarded many weeks or months ago to give the crèches the opportunity to secure a contractor in a timely manner and have the works completed.
“With such a short timeframe now to complete the works, CCCs will be, for all intents and purposes, held over a barrel by the contractors, and may not get the same value for money a longer lead in time may have provided.
“We also have a situation whereby many builders will go on annual holidays in late July or early August leaving even less them for the works to be completed.
“How can the Government talk about getting more people, especially mothers, back into the workforce if the crèches cannot provide the extra spaces?” asked Moynihan.
“There is a lot of worry in the childcare sector, and among parents, that the capacity won’t be in place come September. Minister Zappone must immediately issue grant award notices as soon as possible,” concluded Moynihan.