Dublin South West TD, Seán Crowe, has described a proposal by Minister Shane Ross for a grant for grandparents who take care for their grandchildren, as a half-baked election gimmick

The Sinn Féin TD said he would be better spending his time coming up with workable proposals that would relieve the burden on families’ childcare costs.

Deputy Seán Crowe said:

“Childcare costs are at an all-time high, with many hard pressed parents paying the equivalent of a second mortgage in crèche fees.

“Minister Ross and his Independent Alliance have suggested giving a grant to grandparents which would cost taxpayers a whopping €70 million.

“Surely their time would be better spent on bringing forward workable proposals that will effectively bring costs down so that every parent who wishes to avail of childcare can do so.

“Instead they appear to be looking at half-baked election gimmicks that may be popular with some grandparents but will do nothing to resolve the crisis in childcare.

“Everyone recognizes the increasing and important role that many grandparents play in caring for grandchildren, but this crude giveaway proposal will not resolve the childcare crisis or make it more manageable for their children.”

Crowe continued:

“Unfortunately decades of Government underinvestment in early year’s services have led us as a society to where we are now paying astronomical figures for childcare.

“Sinn Féin’s alternative Budget for last year was fully-costed and set out proposals that would half the cost of childcare for families. A key component of that was through significant increases in the Universal Childcare Subsidy.

“According to Shane Ross, his so-called ‘Granny Grant’ would cost €70 million. In comparison, based on last year’s figures from the Department of Finance, it would cost €116 million to cut the cost of childcare by half, through an increase of the Universal Childcare Subsidy of €2 per hour.

“The proposal by the Independent Alliance seems to be more about the next election than about any real attempt to reform our childcare system and bring about a system that is affordable to parents.

“Surely the way forward is to adopt the Sinn Féin model and cut the costs for parents by half.”