Tag Archives: childcare

Minister for Children Katherine Zappone in the Dáil yesterday evening

Yesterday evening.

In the Dáil.

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Katherine Zappone said Ireland would look at the Norwegian model of childcare for the phase reopening of childcare.

She added:

Our preliminary guidance is pointing towards preparations whereby childcare will operate in pods. As far as possible, this will entail small groups of children with the same childcare practitioner in the same room with the same toys every time they are there. We are exploring the number of children that could be cared for by a single adult childcare practitioner. They will play together and will be encouraged to stay together in their pods and use outdoor spaces as much as possible.”

She later told the Dáil that “the pods plan” was “based on advice given to us by the public health expert”. It is not something that I am saying, it is the public health expert saying that.

And on facemaks, she said:

“Our preliminary advice is that the wearing of face masks by children under six years of age is unlikely to contribute to improved infection control. It may be the case that children would not use them consistently without a degree of reinforcement or coercion. This would not be desirable.”

Related: Ireland will look at ‘Norwegian model’ for reopening childcare (The Irish Times)



Kinsale, County Cork

A number of streets are being considered for pedestrianisation and a novel street pod concept, which could see diners sitting outdoors in enclosed pods, is on the cards….

Kinsale seeks reboot with ‘bold decisions’  (Eoin English, The Irish Examiner)

Transcript: Oireachtas.ie

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Katherine Zappone

This afternoon.

Further to public outcry, Katherine Zappone has revised her decision to not pay childcare providers who close their service in order to attend a protest next Wednesday.

That initial decision, Ms Zappone said on Tuesday, was based on “legal advice”.

This afternoon, a press release from the Department for Children and Youth Affairs states:

Having considered the concerns and circumstances of the Childcare sector, Minister Zappone has instructed the Department of Children and Youth Affairs and Pobal to authorise payments to childcare services who close during the day of protest on February 5th.

Payments will be made on condition that Childcare Providers find an alternative, suitable date for parents to avail of childcare services in lieu of the day that the Service is closed.

Statement by Minister Katherine Zappone T.D. on payments to Childcare Services for the Day of Protest (Department of Children and Youth Affairs)

Earlier: And Your Little Dog Too


Minister for Children Katherine Zappone

Twenty days ago, the Early Years Alliance announced its plans to hold a protest on Wednesday, February 5.

Thousands of providers are reportedly expected to take part.

However, Minister for Children Katherine Zappone on Tuesday released a circular telling providers that those who close their service in order to attend the protest will lose payments.

They’ve also been told that they cannot change their working calendar – to allow for the creches to close next Wednesday.

This morning. Paula Donohoe, of Clever Clogs Childcare in Ballyconnell, County Cavan, spoke to Seán O’Rourke on RTÉ Radio One.

Asked about the circular from Ms Zappone’s department and if she will still attend the protest in light of it, Paula said:

“Yes, in fact, the circular, as of Tuesday, has probably made me even more resolute…this is the reason, the very reason we are going out on this protest is the behaviour of the department, and the minister and her department that led to Tuesday’s action.

“What Tuesday, the announcement on Tuesday was that they will not fund the services. Now I get that, if you’re not working, you don’t get paid.

“But we have always been entitled and able to, under our contractual arrangements with the department, to change our calendar.

“As long as we run it by [inaudible] on behalf of the department, which is the county childcare committee. I have had to do this in the past. There has never been a problem. I’ve changed my calendar and I’ve never had to to give a reason as to why I had to change my calendar.

“I’ve changed my calendar, had it approved and re-issued a new calendar.

“The circular on Tuesday, or the announcement on Tuesday by the minister, was that we are no longer allowed to actually change our calendars.

“My intention always was to close next Wednesday, the 5th of February but to provide the parents and children of my service…an alternative day so the children to not lose out.”

Mr O’Rourke asked Ms Donohoe if her 25 childcare workers will now lose a day’s pay because of the closure in order to attend the protest. She said:

“Absolutely not. I’m fighting on behalf of my staff for a very long time, for very low waged professionals. So, in my case, I can verify that they will get their wages.

“Whether I get my Government funding or not, those girls will get their wages. There is absolutely no way I will punish them.”

Good times.

Department of Children and Youth Affairs FAQs on the proposed Early Years protest 5 February 2020 (Department of Children and Youth Affairs)

Listen back in full here

Crèches closing for protest rally to be docked State funds (Independent.ie)

Previously: How Much?

From top: Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe; Minister for Business Heather Humphreys; Tánaiste Simon Coveney, Ms Humphreys, Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Regina Doherty and Mr Donohoe at City Assembly House, Dublin; Fine Gael tweet

Earlier today.

Fine Gael held a press conference at City Assembly House in Dublin to explain how the party will “support working families”, including their plans for childcare.

In Fine Gael’s manifesto, the party says the following in regards to childcare:

We know the pressures parents are under because of childcare costs. We have made progress – increasing investment from €265m in 2015 to €638m for 2020, up 141% – but we know people are still paying too much. We will reduce childcare costs further, increase quality and support the childcare sector.

Fine Gael has doubled the number of children benefiting from subsidies, doubled the number of places and doubled the free pre-school (ECCE) scheme through a significant investment.

In 2019, 175,000 children received average subsidies of €64 per week. More than 9,000 children are receiving the highest weekly subsidy of €145. Over the next five years, we will invest an extra €400 million, as we reduce childcare costs for parents and increase quality and accessibility. This will bring annual investment in childcare to more than €1 billion in 2025.


Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Regina Doherty

 Last night

on RTÉ’s Late Debate, hosted by Katie Hannon, the panel included Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Regina Doherty; former RTÉ broadcaster Valerie Cox, who is standing as an Independent candidate in Wicklow; Fianna Fáil’s John Lahart; Labour’s Kevin Humphreys and Daniel McConnell, of the Irish Examiner.

During the show, Ms Doherty repeated the above electoral promises.

Valerie Cox pointed out that many childminders cannot avail of State subsidies because of particular rules in regards to registering for these subsidies.

From the exchange:

Valerie Cox: “The Government are dealing with creches and making them the centre of childcare whereas I met Childminding Ireland the other day and these are people who mind children in their own homes.

“But what the Government has done to them is quite extraordinary really because they want to be vetted by gardai, they want to have all of the supports that the creches would have. But instead of that, the Government has decided that people who have children in their own home cannot be vetted and cannot register with Tusla, unless they’re minding a minimum of four children. And many people are only minding, you know, one, two, three.

“So that’s a very difficult thing for them. Yes, it’s very expensive, but probably better for children in many ways to be in somebody else’s home. Because if you’re commuting from Wicklow and you’re regularly commuting to Dublin or North Wicklow, the children are going to be there for a longer time. So probably the home environment is a very useful one for them to be in.”

Katie Hannon:Is that the case, Regina?

Regina Doherty:No. So if you look at the manifesto, the National Childcare Scheme that was announced and commenced last November is only for registered creches and registered childminders.

“But the pathway is to try and find a fine balance between what you just described, which is in the common good, of children being in a home, a family home, a home from home setting. But also ensuring that the governance that’s required by Tusla, that the certain standards and settings are required for. So we’re not going to pay taxpayers’ money without ensuring that the quality of care is of a standard that it needs to and we need to find a mechanism to be able to do that.”

Hannon: “Ok, but as it stands…”

Doherty: “That potentially is inviting those people to become registered because, at the moment…”

Cox: “But they want to be registered, but they can’t be registered…”

Doherty: “At the moment, we only have 81 registered providers in the country and that’s why Fianna Fáil want’s tax incentive to those registered providers is a real misnomer because it’s not going to work.”

Talk over each other

Hannon: “It’s not going to be a misnomer if, if, if…you’re saying that, as it stands, you have to be registered, you have to be Garda vetted, obviously, all of these things. But you’re saying that’s not the case? But in the next breadth you say, ‘well, it is now, but we’ve a pathway that we want to take’.”

Doherty: “No, so it’s not the case right now for the National Childcare Scheme that was announced in November.”

Hannon: “Yeah.”

Doherty: “What we’re going to ensure that we do over the course of the coming year is that with the extra €400m subsidy, is that we get it to the places that it’s needed the most which is into the pockets of the people who are paying the childcare fees to whomever they’re paying it for. But it has to be with a level of governance and a minimal acceptable standard…”

Hannon:So are you saying that those people, that Valerie is talking about, the people who are minding two and three children, maybe taking in an extra child because they’re stay-at-home parents themselves. That they will be…”

Doherty:Invited to be registered, if that’s the way we want to go in the future. You know, so there’s. What we want to make sure is that we get the available money that’s earmarked in our budget, the extra €400million that we’re going to spend on subvention to the parents of the families that are spending this extra mortgage every month.”

Hannon: “Ok.”

Doherty: “No, if that means we have to invite people who are registered, or who are unregistered at the moment, to become registered, well, we need to find a mechanism for brining those people into the system.”

Hannon: “But you haven’t found that mechanism yet?”

Doherty:No, we will be inviting them to become registered. At the moment, the restrictions are that they have to have a minimum number of children in order to be registered. Who says we just can’t change that?

John Lahart:But you’re the minister.”

Hannon: “So, you’re in Government. That’s what….the Government you’re a member of hasn’t changed it.”

Cox: “But that’s what Government does though, doesn’t it?

Doherty: “Absolutely indeed and we were the Government that…”

Listen back to Late Debate in full here


Parents are paying up to 8% more for childcare this year. Figures via the Department of Children and Youth Affairs. The most expensive is Dublin, the cheapest is Carlow.

Via Irish Examiner:

Data collected from 4,000 centres across the country show average full-time fees are now costing €184 per week.

Children’s Minister Dr Katherine Zappone says parents should check the figures being released today to inform themselves about what they can expect to pay for childcare in their area.

Her Department recorded the lowest full-time fees for children aged 2-3 in Co. Carlow at €148 per week, with the highest in Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown in Dublin at €251.

Here are the average weekly childcare costs for each county (Irish Examiner)


Tom McGuinness, of Horseware Ireland and pal

Why not make it simple? So if you give a decent tax credit, that will cause cash to go into the system. If you start trying to subsidise childcare, that gets very complicated. Well who do you subsidise? What hoops do you make them jump through? Then you have to have a whole new sector of public servants to monitor it and so half the money goes into the big black hole.

Why don’t they give tax credits for creches… that’s not going to create a property bubble and, you know, it can be ring fenced for 5 years and then the benefit could be extended for 10 years and then that’s the end of it. Isn’t that a simple idea? Isn’t that like a sensible idea? It’s logic. Simple common sense.

Tom McGuinness, who employs 170 staff – mostly female – at Horseware Ireland in Dundalk, Co. Louth, speaking to journalist Emma McNamara on RTÉ One’s News At One earlier.


Listen back in full here

Henry Shefflin

Kilkenny hurler Henry Shefflin

Dr Jacky Jones writes:

The GAA and other sports organisations do great community work. The problems arise with the amount of media coverage given to male sport, and a complacent listenership. Irish sexist attitudes mean most people think the excess coverage is normal. Women are so used to being left out, ignored, sidelined, and occasionally indulged, that even they think the coverage is normal….

In the week following the All-Ireland hurling final, Seán O’Rourke interviewed Kilkenny hurler Henry Shefflin, who described his parenting when training as “15 minutes of fatherhood”. He writes about parenting, and how it impinged on his sports career… “I’d describe myself as a modern father, in that I’d happily change nappies, do my little bit.” On his 15 minutes of fatherhood: “I leave the house at 5.30 [15 minutes after he gets home from work], when I’m pulling back in the gate everyone’s in bed and asleep.”

Crying babies upset his routine: “To be woken by a teething baby in All-Ireland final week is to feel a rising panic. What if I don’t get back to sleep and end up feeling drained?” Who cares? Is sport as important as a child’s needs?
Unfortunately, this behaviour is par for the course, not only for sportsmen but for many Irish males.

….If sportsmen and their fans spent even a quarter of the time, energy and zest they devote to sport, to a campaign for publicly funded childcare, the country would be awash with cheap creches by Christmas. In fact, it is scary to think of how quickly they could make it happ

Second Opinion: In the world of sport, women are still making the sandwiches (Jacky Jones, Irish Times)


The National Women’s Council of Ireland is launching its pre-Budget submission this morning.

From the launch…

National Women’s Council of Ireland

Childcare, Violence against Women, Decent Work: Turn it around for women in Budget 2016


Right so.

Donna Hartnett?

Gender Equality Conference – Highlighting Challenges and Opportunities in Achieving Gender Balance in Business and Leadership, Dublin Castle, 25 November, 2014 (Justice Department)

ccc2Thanks to the Civil Service Childcare Initiative, 2001.

Sorry, the whatnow?

Nelly Bergman explains:

In Budget 2001, the Minister for Finance allocated €12.7m for the provision of 10-15 crèches for the children of civil servants throughout Ireland.
The allocation was part of a major Initiative by the Government to improve childcare provision and increase the number of childcare places available in Ireland.
The CSCI also aimed to contribute to the equality agenda and increase female participation at higher executive officer level and above and to help employees to combine employment with their family life.


Civil Service Childcare Initiative