Growing the economy and affordable childcare go hand in hand, Martin Heydon, Fine Gael TD and Chairman of the Parliamentary Party, said today, as Fine Gael committed to supporting working families with €400 per month for under 3s and four weeks extra per year free pre-school.


Deputy Heydon said:


“Our economy has never been stronger. More people are working in Ireland now than ever before and incomes are rising. However, this progress cannot be taken for granted. We are only half time on Brexit. We must put our best team forward to ensure the opportunities families have worked so hard for are protected.

“Childcare is central to Fine Gael’s plan to support working families while securing our economic growth.”

Fine Gael in government will provide:

  • €400 per month for under 3s. Fine Gael will increase the current universal payment of €80 per month to €400 per month for all parents with children under 3 over the next five years.


  • 4 weeks extra childcare under ECCE scheme. We will increase the number of weeks available under the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) scheme from 38 weeks to 42 weeks – up to 8 weeks extra per child (as is a two year scheme).


  • Support for low income families. €150m will be invested to increase both the threshold and the subsidy under the National Childcare Scheme. This will allow parents– including of school age children– to receive a payment based on their income, benefitting more hard working middle income working parents.



  • Childminders and parents using childminding services should also benefit from these subsidies. Working with childminders, we will publish a Childminding Support and Inclusion Plan that will assist transition.


  • More family time. We will extend parental leave for both parents to 9 weeks each in the first year.



Deputy Heydon said:


“We have already increased funding in childcare by almost 250% from €274 million in 2015 to €638 million this year. Under our Plan, in 2025, the childcare budget will be over €1 billion. As a father of 3 young boys I believe that investment in childcare is crucial as we secure this economic growth. This investment will support hard working parents in Kildare”