Childcare services in Cork are to receive just over €620,000 in extra funding, a financial boost that comes at a key moment in Ireland’s move to make affordable, quality childcare more accessible.
Cork based Senator, Tim Lombard, said: “I am delighted to announce that our local childcare services will receive such a substantial funding allocation.
“The money is available for immediate draw-down by providers and will be used to provide more childcare places here in Cork, as well as maintenance, building work and creating outdoor play areas.
“The provision of quality, affordable and accessible childcare is of utmost importance and priority as to ensure our children get the very best start in life.
“My Government colleague, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone, said €8.4m in capital funding has been allocated through the Department of Children and Youth Affairs to 683 pre-school providers nationwide; an increase of €4.4m on the amount announced for this programme in March 2017.
“This funding will benefit children, families and providers under our Early Years programmes, contributing to the development of an infrastructure that is ready to meet the radical new approach to subsidising childcare, as outlined in Budget 2017.
“Since first entering Government Fine Gael has prioritised hard-pressed working families, a major initiative of which has been to reduce the cost of childcare for working parents.
“We introduced the free pre-school year, and subsequently extended it to a second year. It is estimated the extended scheme provides an average saving of €4,000 per child. We also recently introduced paternity leave for the first time ever. Dads are now entitled to two weeks’ paid leave.
“From September an estimated 70,000 children nationwide will get extra supports. This will really benefit families in Cork. Families will benefit in two ways. First there is a universal support for all children aged 3 and under then there are supports for those families who need it most.
“The second targeted support is based on income and also for those parents who have had to turn down jobs, training and education because they cannot afford childcare.
“I encourage parents in Cork to take the time to study the increased supports that are available by checking out the new website www.affordablechildcare.ie or by talking to staff at your local childcare centre.”