Updated: 03/10/17 : 05:31:21
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Sligo childcare provider to brief Oireachtas members at Leinster House today

A Sligo childcare provider will brief members of the Oireachtas at Leinster House today.

Louise Kilbane from Lollipop Lane crèche in Tubbercurry will present to TDs on 'More Affordable Childcare', at a briefing hosted by Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Children and Youth Affairs Deputy Anne Rabbitte.

Lollipop Lane is one of over fifty Early Childhood Ireland members in Co. Sligo. Ms. Kilbane will be joined at the session by fellow member Elizabeth Jackson from Tallaght Childcare Centre in Dublin.

Early Childhood Ireland CEO Teresa Heeney will also speak at the session.

More Affordable Childcare is expected to form a key part of the providers’ presentations. This is the name given to a series of childcare supports which came into effect in September. The supports, which include a universal subsidy as well as targeted subsidies for low-income families, are an interim measure put in place in the wake of the delay in the full Affordable Childcare Scheme.

This scheme was itself delayed when a dedicated IT portal, designed to facilitate the registration of children and families for subsidies, was not completed in time for a planned September 2017 roll-out.

The task of registering families under the scheme therefore passed to providers, creating a considerable burden for a sector already grappling with capitation and staffing difficulties. Today’s briefing will enable childcare providers to brief members of the Oireachtas about their direct experience of delivering the scheme for the first time.

Speaking ahead of the briefing, Teresa Heeney, CEO Early Childhood Ireland noted, "This is an important opportunity for early years providers to discuss their experiences at Leinster House. More Affordable Childcare provides welcome supports for families, but its implementation has entailed a considerable burden for providers and it is important that this context is discussed.

"I am grateful to Deputy Rabbitte for hosting this briefing, and for providing our members with the opportunity to raise these concerns with their elected representatives ahead of Budget 2018."