Doyle encourages parents to get up to speed on new childcare supports New website

Repro Free: Tuesday 30th May 2017. The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr. Katherine Zappone T.D., today launched a public information campaign about the Government’s plans to deliver More Affordable Childcare to families from September. This campaign will target thousands of families who will qualify for enhanced childcare supports from September. It also will also target more than 4,000 childcare providers throughout the country. Pictured with Dr. Katherine Zappone T.D. was Sophie O Toole, 4, Clontarf, Arian Aung, 4 Ballymun, Kevin Rocca, 4 Swords, Luke Freeman, 5 Artane, Trysten Bruen, 5 Balgrifin and Jake Farmer, 5 Castleknock. Picture Jason Clarke Photography

Wicklow families will benefit from more affordable childcare in September and should now take time to check out their rights, according to Fine Gael TD and Minister at the Department of Agriculture, Andrew Doyle.

“Since first entering Government, Fine Gael has prioritised hard pressed working families; the people who bore the brunt of the economic recession. A major part of this 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 7000 children nationwide will get extra supports. This will really benefit families in Wicklow


“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 now encourage parents in Wicklow to take the time to study the increased supports which are available and prepare for the autumn, by checking out the new website or by talking to staff at your local childcare centre. “As Minister for Childcare Katherine Zappone has said, this is the first big step, but there is still much work to done in this area. I am assured that the Minister is focused on quality of childcare, accessibility and also recognition for the workers who provide services.


“I will continue working to ensure that parents across Wicklow can avail of high quality and affordable care for their children when they need it. Fine Gael will continue to ease the financial burden on hard press working families.”

€1,210,289 in housing grants for older people and people with a disability in Wicklow

housingadaption grants€1,210,289 funding has been made available for older people and people with disabilities in Wicklow for adaptation of their homes. That’s according to Fine Gael TD/Senator for Wicklow East Carlow who is encouraging local people to apply for the grants to help them stay in their own homes.


“Older people and people with disabilities with their own homes in Wicklow are going to benefit from new Government funding designed to help them to adapt their homes to improve their mobility and access.


“The funding can be used by older people and people with disabilities to extend their homes to better cater for their needs. It will also provide for housing adaptations to improve mobility aid such as stair lifts and access ramps.


“Grants of up to €30,000 are available for an adaptation of a home. Up to €8,000 is available for housing aid for older people and up to €6,000 is allocated for mobility aids.”


At a national level €59.8 million is being available in 2017 for this scheme. The grants are 80% funded from the Exchequer by the Department of Housing, Planning, Community & Local Government, with 20% funding from the relevant local authority. The available exchequer funding for 2017 is €47.8m, an increase of 6% on the 2016 figure of €45m.  Combined with the local authority contribution, the overall funding is now €59.8 million.


The Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government, Simon Coveney, has noted that all 31 local authority areas have seen a funding increase for this scheme this year.


“In total €1,210,289 is being made available in Wicklow for this housing adaptation scheme. €968,321 is provided by the Exchequer and this will be supplemented by Wicklow County Council to the tune of €242,058” continued Minister Doyle.


“This is all about improving quality of life for older people and people with disabilities. It is also about helping them to stay in their own homes for as long as possible. This is good for the person in question and it is good for society as a whole.


“These types of schemes are also good news for the construction sector, helping to create jobs in that sector which of course also has a knock on positive effect for the local economy here in Wicklow


“The target in both the Programme for Government, and Rebuilding Ireland, our housing plan, is for 10,000 homes to draw down this scheme in 2017, up from 8,000 in 2016.

“I hope to see good take up of the scheme by people who need it here in Wicklow and I will certainly be encouraging constituents whom I know can benefit to apply for this scheme through the Local Authority.”