Over €230,000 in capital grants has been awarded to Tipperary childcare providers, Fine Gael Candidate for the next general election Garret Ahearn has said.
The announcement was made by the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr. Katherine Zappone. A total of €6.87m in Capital funding will be awarded to providers of Early Years and School Age Childcare across Ireland.
Mr Ahearn said: “This week’s announcement follows on from the childcare measures we introduced last September, giving up to 70,000 children extra supports.
“This funding will contribute towards the creation of new childcare places, natural outdoor play areas and the essential maintenance and repair of services here in Tipperary.
“The capital funding has been awarded following the completion of a very competitive application and appraisal process.
“I am very pleased with the progress we are making with childcare. Fine Gael is delivering on its election commitment to support families and to help ease the financial cost of childcare.
“The extra supports announced last September included a universal childcare subsidy, of up to €1,040 per year, available for children aged from 6-months up to starting their free pre-school year (ECCE Scheme) at 36 months.
“Families on lower incomes, who qualify by way of a means test, are eligible for supports worth up to €7,500 per year for children aged 6 months to 15 years of age. The aim is to ensure that parents previously prevented from taking up jobs, training or education because of the cost of childcare, are now able to join the workforce.
“In addition the free pre-school year (ECCE scheme) we introduced and later extended to two free years has been hugely beneficial to families saving them on average €4,000 per child.
“We introduced two weeks paid Paternity Leave for new fathers for the first time in the history of the State.
“Under 6s now benefit from GP care and an extra 10,000 children now qualify for a medical card thanks to it being extended to those on Domiciliary Care Allowance.
“We have provided for 47,000 extra breakfast club places to benefit children and the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance has increased by 25%,” the Fine Gael Candidate said.
Minister Zappone said: “I am delighted to announce the €6.87m which will create over 2,000 new childcare places across the country.
There was an unprecedented amount of applications this year which shows the appetite for expansion within the sector. I will continue to seek increased investment in this area in order to increase capacity and deliver the highest quality of childcare for families in Ireland.”