Fine Gael’s Cllr. Domnick Connolly has raised concerns over the confusion surrounding the Government’s plans to introduce a year of free pre-school.
“In April the Minister for Finance announced the plans to scrap the Early Childcare Supplement and to replace it with the free year in pre-school. We are now in the middle of May and it is still unclear exactly how this plan will operate,” stated Cllr. Connolly.
“This is an issue that has been raised on a number of occasions during canvassing. Many pre-school providers are concerned about the lack of information that is being made available to them on the implementation of this new scheme, the duration of the capitation grant and the payment of top-ups. There are also concerns over whether the capitation grant will even meet the cost of providing the service.”
Cllr. Connolly has been working closely on this issue with Deputy Denis Naughten to seek clarity from the Minister for Children on exactly how this scheme will operate.
“Unless these issues are addressed there is a very real possibility that some pre-school providers will not be in a position to operate the scheme and it will then be local families who wish to send their child to pre-school who will miss out. The Minster for Children must engage with pre-school providers with a view to addressing and resolving these issues immediately,” stated Cllr. Connolly.