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25 Sept 2022

More children in Louth able to avail of after school care

More children in Louth able to avail of after school care

Dundalk TD Ruairí Ó Murchú has welcomed changes to the Childcare Scheme under Budget 2022 that should benefit after school childcare groups in deprived areas in County Louth that were facing closure.

The Sinn Féin TD said it will mean that more children will be able to avail of after school care, particularly benefitting young people from low income families.

The removal of the practice of deducting hours spent in school or pre-school from a child’s entitlement to NCS subsidised hours will benefit 5,000 children in low income families around the State.

Deputy Ó Murchú said: "This is welcome news and I have been in contact with a number of the after school operators in Louth who tell me this looks like a positive move for the sector.

"A number of months ago, we had met with after school services in Louth and had helped arranged a meeting with them and I with Minister Roderic O’Gorman.

"There has been engagement with the Department of Children in relation to the difficulties experienced by these after school providers and the interim Tusla referral system never managed to address these.

"The changes introduced to the NCS, whereby there’s now the possibility of groups being able to avail of up to 20 hours per week of after school services per child, whose parents are not working, without the need for a complicated referral system, are welcome.

"However, we await the outcome to the review of NCS and the funding for childcare services, particularly in DEIS areas. We await a more long-term solution but we welcome this news as it deals with the immediate fear that many of the Louth groups had of closure.

"There may still be a need for the interim referral system to be streamlined.

"I have been in contact with these groups to see that these changes have alleviated the present difficulties, and offer a short term fix."

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