Taoiseach clarifies position of childminders; Eligibility for budget package extends to those registered who work in the home

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said childminders who work in the home but who are registered with the State’s child agency will be eligible for the new childcare package announced in Tuesday’s budget.
Taoiseach clarifies position of childminders; Eligibility for budget package extends to those registered who work in the home

Speaking at leaders’ questions, Mr Kenny was responding to questions from opposition TDs who were seeking clarification amid criticisms that the new measures excluded stay-at-home mothers.

Mr Kenny appeared to suggest that those relations who are registered with Tusla will be able to claim the benefit.

The Taoiseach also said he will meet the family of Shane O’Farrell, whose 2011 death is the subject of much controversy.

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams raised the case of Mr O’Farrell in the Dail and revealed he had previously handed the Taoiseach a file on behalf of the O’Farrell family.

Shane O’Farrell, a 23-year-old law graduate from Trinity College Dublin, died on August 2, 2011, after being knocked off his bike by a car outside Carrickmacross in Co Monaghan.

The driver of the vehicle, Lithuanian man Zigimantas Gridzuiska, was allowed to walk free on the condition that he leave Ireland.

Gridziuska had multiple prior convictions for aggravated burglary, road traffic offences, and handling stolen property in his native country before moving to the Carrickmacross area.

In January 2011, after he appealed a 12-month sentence for theft, Monaghan Circuit Court released Gridziuska on bail for a year, but he made several court appearances in subsequent months for offences in that county, as well as Cavan and Louth.

Gridziuska was handed an eight-month suspended sentence for dangerous driving causing death in February 2013, on the basis he leave the country within 21 days.

This condition was never met, Shane’s mother Lucia said, because Gridziuska was charged a month later with related insurance fraud.

Shane’s mother has claimed gardaí had spent five months preparing a file on the same fraud as part of an investigation into Shane’s death, but that it was only submitted to the DPP a day after the dangerous driving trial.

She and other members of the family were present in the Dáil to hear the exchange.

Mr Kenny said this was a sad and unfortunate situation for the O’Farrell family and that he was willing to meet the family as soon as it can be arranged.

He also committed to disclosing his views of Shane’s case in the wake of the meeting.

The Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission has investigated allegations made by the O’Farrell family.

Also at leaders’ questions, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin criticised the lack of Brexit contingency measures in the Budget, describing them what the Government announced as “tokenism”.

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