Childcare Minister launches plan amidst concerns over new charges

Childcare minister Brendan Smith met with childcare representatives from County Roscommon on Monday night last when he was in town to launch a new three-year plan for Roscommon County Childcare Committee. During the course of the event, a number of speakers called on the Minister to take on board serious concerns which childcare providers have about new charges due to be introduced on January 1st next. Addressing the Minister, Sinead Devine, of Roscommon County Childcare Committee acknowledged the work done by committee members to date and said that during the course of the last three-year plan €10.5 million was received in capital grants. She said that under the Equal Opportunities Childcare programme, people were encouraged to go back to work and take up training. ‘A lot of people have done so and the will be the people that will not quality for funding. I hope you listen to these people because they have very serious and real concerns. We have made serious progress and I hope that we don’t go backwards,’ said Ms. Devine to sustained applause from the guests. The minister was welcomed to the event by Tom Costello, Chairperson of the Roscommon County Childcare Committee and he outlined the work of the County Childcare Committee in the county to date. Minister Smyth praised the work of the County Childcare committee and said, ‘I know from my colleagues in the Oireachtas and councillors in this county that there are concerns from community childcare providers. We are determined that the new scheme will continue to provide and support the provision of childcare in rural Ireland as well as urban areas.’