Creche owners have been left disillusioned yet again by this Government as support payments begin to hit their accounts, according to independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice.
Earlier this week, the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Katherine Zappone, announced that a €7 million fund would facilitate an additional payment of approximately €1,500 on average to individual childcare providers, with the actual payment varying according to service size.
This payment is being made in recognition of the additional administration that childcare providers have been tasked with in 2019, the department explained.
However, creche owners have been left angry and frustrated as the actual payments arrive, Fitzmaurice explained.
“Following this week’s announcement, creche owners understood they were getting a payment of €1,500. But, in actual fact, it turns out you would need at least 300 in your creche to get €1,500.
“I spoke with one owner, who employs a number of people and who cares for between 80 to 100 throughout the course of the entire day, this morning who received just €292.
“As a sector which is ferociously important to the country by enabling parents to go out and work, it is hugely disappointing to see that childcare service providers are being taken advantage of by the insurance sector through excessive premiums,” he said.
“Creche owners have also not been shown the necessary commitment that is required from the Government to get them over this hump.
“The creche owner I spoke to noted that their insurance costs have risen from €1,600 to €6,000 in the space of a year; how is that sustainable or acceptable?
“These additional costs are piled on top of already bulging outlays, including wages and holiday pay etc. A lot of creches are at a crossroads at the moment and don’t know whether or not they can continue,” Dep Fitzmaurice said.
Continuing, he added: “It is disingenuous for this Government to put out a headline figure of €1,500 when, in actual fact, you would need almost 400 kids to be eligible for the full payment.
“Minister Zappone needs to address this situation immediately. Creche owners cannot withstand these insurance hikes and they will have to pass the increases on to the people – as the Taoiseach does say – who ‘get up early in the mornings’.
“It seems as if families and indeed people who are trying to create employment are constantly under attack.
“The minister needs to take the bull by the horns when it comes to the soaring insurance costs facing childcare providers,” he concluded.