By Suzanne Pender
FIANNA Fáil TD for Carlow Jennifer Murnane O’Connor has called Budget 2022 a very positive budget for children and childcare.
Deputy Murnane O’Connor commented: “A record €716m in funding for childcare shows this government’s commitment to inclusive and affordable childcare. This budget will provide quality for children, affordability for parents, sustainability of services and fair pay and conditions for staff.”
The Carlow TD continued: “This budget also provides for an extra two weeks of parental leave. It will also extend the National Childcare Scheme universal subsidy to children under 15.
“Additionally, this budget provides new funding for approximately 4,700 early learning and childcare providers to help cover increased operating costs, helping to attract and retain staff.
“In terms of education, this budget represents one of the biggest investments in education and special education with 980 extra special education teachers; 1,165 additional SNAs, a primary school student-teacher ratio reduction from 25:1 to 24:1, €18m in DEIS support and €4m to extend the hot meals programme to more schools.
“This budget has also increased child allowance by €2 for those under 12 and €3 for over-12s. Parents’ benefit has also increased by €5 a week.”