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First childcare supplement to be paid in August

Brian Lenihan

By Paul O’Brien Political Reporter
THE Government has insisted that the first instalment of the new €1,000 childcare supplement will be paid by the end of August.

It emerged yesterday morning that the Department of Social and Family Affairs believed payments could be delayed until December because of the administrative difficulties associated with introducing the supplement. The department has to update its computer systems in order to make the payments.

But yesterday afternoon, Minister for Children Brian Lenihan insisted that the first instalment would be paid before the end of August.

"It has been confirmed to me by the Department of Social and Family Affairs that the department will be in a position to make the first early childcare supplement payment on behalf of my office in late August 2006, with the second payment, which is due in September 2006, being paid at that time," he said.

The third and final payment for this year will be made in December. From next year, the supplement will be paid in four quarterly instalments.

Opposition TDs had voiced concerns that the Government might use the payment as a pre-election ploy by paying it in lump sums at politically convenient times.

But Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, also speaking in the Dáil, insisted: "There is no truth in that view about the payments; they will be made when they are due."

Afterwards, Fine Gael social affairs spokesman David Stanton said he would take that pledge at face value.

"We’ll have to take them on faith that they will make the first payment in August," he said.

The supplement will be issued to families for every child under the age of six. It’s estimated that approximately 350,000 children will qualify.

Mr Lenihan defended the fact the payment won’t be means-tested. "The early childcare supplement makes no distinction as to the income or employment status of the parents. This is deliberate," he said.

"Some may be critical of this feature but the Government believes it is right that parents have a choice when it comes to childcare. It is not the role of the State to tell parents which childcare arrangements are best suited to their families."

 

First childcare supplement to be paid in August

Brian Lenihan

By Paul O’Brien Political Reporter
THE Government has insisted that the first instalment of the new €1,000 childcare supplement will be paid by the end of August.

It emerged yesterday morning that the Department of Social and Family Affairs believed payments could be delayed until December because of the administrative difficulties associated with introducing the supplement. The department has to update its computer systems in order to make the payments.

But yesterday afternoon, Minister for Children Brian Lenihan insisted that the first instalment would be paid before the end of August.

"It has been confirmed to me by the Department of Social and Family Affairs that the department will be in a position to make the first early childcare supplement payment on behalf of my office in late August 2006, with the second payment, which is due in September 2006, being paid at that time," he said.

The third and final payment for this year will be made in December. From next year, the supplement will be paid in four quarterly instalments.

Opposition TDs had voiced concerns that the Government might use the payment as a pre-election ploy by paying it in lump sums at politically convenient times.

But Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, also speaking in the Dáil, insisted: "There is no truth in that view about the payments; they will be made when they are due."

Afterwards, Fine Gael social affairs spokesman David Stanton said he would take that pledge at face value.

"We’ll have to take them on faith that they will make the first payment in August," he said.

The supplement will be issued to families for every child under the age of six. It’s estimated that approximately 350,000 children will qualify.

Mr Lenihan defended the fact the payment won’t be means-tested. "The early childcare supplement makes no distinction as to the income or employment status of the parents. This is deliberate," he said.

"Some may be critical of this feature but the Government believes it is right that parents have a choice when it comes to childcare. It is not the role of the State to tell parents which childcare arrangements are best suited to their families."