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Taoiseach launches National Children's Scheme

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has launched the National Children's Scheme today, that aims to make childcare 'more accessible' to parents.

Speaking at the launch, Children's Minister Catherine Zappone said: "We've been working towards this for the past three years and it will provide the easiest way for parents and families to receive the supports that the government has to make childcare more affordable, higher quality, and accessible.

"More investment is coming for families as of October, November of this year."

Chief Executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance Tanya Ward said the government allocated €574m in the 2019 Budget to get the scheme off the ground.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said: "It's all about making childcare more affordable for parents. For low to middle income parents, they're going to see an increase in their subsidy. For some middle income parents with gross incomes of up to €100,000, they're receiving a childcare subsidy for the first time."

An estimated 7,500 additional children will benefit from the Scheme, with over 40,000 other children, already eligible, seeing increases to their subsidies.

He added: "The cost of childcare can act as a barrier to parents to want to return to work, but who are worried about how much it will cost to do so. It can also be obstacle to parents who want to take up education and training."

A once-off 'Transition Support Payment' was also announced, which will be paid to childcare providers who participate in the scheme.