Longford-Westmeath childcare providers can apply for support from a new national €4m fund, according to Independent Alliance TD for Longford-Westmeath, Kevin 'Boxer' Moran.
Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone, has informed Deputy Moran that local crèches, community services and other childcare providers can apply for money for new places, maintenance, and outdoor play areas.
Minister Zappone says individual childcare centres can receive funding of up to €50,000 under the 2017 Early Years Capital Funding Scheme.
Making the announcement, Minister Zappone added: “The Government has ambitious plans to change childcare in Longford-Westmeath and throughout the country. We must move from having one of the most expensive services in the world to having the best.
"However, in order to achieve this goal we must continue to build up the infrastructure, in particular in those communities with young populations. This funding is another step towards achieving our goal."
Longford-Westmeath providers can receive up to €50,000 under this scheme for major expansions, while €20,000 is available to community-based services for maintenance and grants of up to €5,000 are available for play areas.
This fund is in addition to €3m announced earlier in March to support those services for children of school-going age.
"While these schemes are making a difference on the ground, in the Dáil we are also progressing legislation to allow for major changes to childcare," Minister Zappone added. "As Minister, I am working hard to ensure the laws are passed before the autumn.
"I am determined that parents will no longer be forced to turn down work, training, or education because of the high cost of childcare. Our plans are ambitious; however as Minister I remain convinced that it is to everyone’s benefit that in Longford/Westmeath we have quality, affordable, accessible childcare services."