Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has confirmed proposals for a €1,000 'granny grant' will be considered for the Budget but that childcare priorities still need to be worked out.
Pressed by the Irish Examiner on the Independent Alliance budget idea at the agriculture show today in Virginia, Cavan, he responded:
"It is something that is under consideration. It will be in the mix for the budget. What we need to consider of course is if we do have extra money for welfare, if we have extra money for childcare, what's the best way to deploy that."
Grandparents who help out with childcare would receive a €1,000 annual payment under plans put forward by Independent ministers in Budget negotiations. Transport Minister and putative alliance leader Shane Ross have even said the grant could go to other family members, such as aunts or uncles. Some estimates suggest such a grant would cost the exchequer hundreds of millions of euro and could not be properly monitored.
Budget talks will begin in the coming days, with just six weeks before spending for next year is agreed between the coalition and Fianna Fail.
The idea for the grant has been criticised by Fine Gael figures though as well as by others who claim it is a way for alliance ministers to "hunt for the grey vote"
Mr Varadkar said Minister for Children Katherine Zappone would be consulted about the idea and her plans to ensure money is well spent on childcare needs.
"I'll be very much listening to the views of Minister Zappone in relation to what she thinks what will be the best way to prioritise spending on childcare."