Independent TD Mattie McGrath has welcomed the announcement by the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Katherine Zappone, that she is to allocate childcare providers and creches with a once off payment of €1500 to offset the dramatic increase in their insurance costs. Deputy McGrath was speaking after the Minister announced a €7 million Emergency Fund only hours after the Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, had rejected the proposal in the Dáil; describing it as ‘reckless’:
“There is no doubt that this move by the Minister, clearly against the judgement of the Taoiseach, will give childcare owners and parents a much needed breathing space. That is certainly welcome.
The fact remains however, that this is a crisis that was on the cards for years given the entirely dysfunctional nature of the insurance market in this state.
Lack of direct and effective government intervention at the regulatory level has played a huge part in this latest insurance crisis.
Insurance providers will now be looking with glee at the prospect at having the state continually intervening to meet whatever exorbitant fees they dream up next.
The Minister herself has accepted that she was “stunned” by a Report provided to her that has shown full-time crèche fees have risen by 3.6pc this year, with weekly fees per child ranging from €148 to €246.
It is also the case that childcare providers have now cautioned parents that these massive increases in premiums will be passed on to parents. Childcare providers are caught between a rock and a hard place. They are devastated to find themselves in this totally invidious position.
Unless we come to terms once and for all with the broken and toxic insurance sector in this state, then we will be back here again in a few months’ time.
Parents and providers deserve better than that,” concluded Deputy McGrath.