Parents in Donegal are still paying more than €140 a week on childcare despite promises of reduction under the Government’s affordable childcare scheme, according to Donegal TD Charlie McConalogue.

New figures reveal that under the “full day universal” payment, parents will only receive €20 a week and will be left with an average childcare bill of €142 a week in Donegal.

Deputy McConalogue said that the Single Affordable Childcare Scheme is unfair to midde income families who are unable to avail of the full subsidy.

Donegal families are paying thousands each year on childcare and prices have risen in the past year, he added.

Deputy McConalogue commented, “The Single Affordable Childcare Scheme was announced with great fanfare by the Children’s Minister Katherine Zappone earlier this year.  However, her rush to launch the programme, in the absence of necessary IT infrastructure, has resulted in a bungled system without an online application process.

“The Department is being forced to rely on the GP visit card and medical card system to deliver the scheme.  This means hundreds of middle-income families in Donegal will miss out on their full subsidy and will see them paying well over €140 per child per week under this “affordable” childcare scheme.  The €20 a week Government contribution will not see any substantial easing of the massive financial burden being endured by working parents in the county.

“Many families are paying thousands of euro a year on childcare; in fact the cost can be a multiple of their mortgage repayments.  The fact that the Department has still not carried out a full analysis of the impact of the Single Affordable Childcare scheme on childcare fees is deeply worrying.

“There is already anecdotal evidence that some childcare providers have increased their prices since the scheme was announced – what is the Minister planning to do to address this?

“The current scheme is unfairly penalising middle income families and must be reviewed as a matter of urgency.  Minister Zappone must ensure that the IT problems, which have resulted in these errors, are rectified without delay so that these families are given access to their full subsidy and are not losing out on essential entitlements”.