Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Wednesday, 18 December 2019
Joint Oireachtas Committee on Children and Youth Affairs
Insurance Cover for Crèches: Discussion
I appreciate all of Deputy Funchion's comments and the spirit in which she makes them. It is important to state that it is an average payment, in light of some of the Deputy's comments. I am trying to be explicit in responding to what she is saying. This has been very difficult for people, with incredible stress and lots of pressure. A substantial portion of it comes from the additional administrative burden. People accept that the re-registration has to be done but it is the first time re-registration has happened and some aspects of it have changed. The introduction of the new national childcare scheme is a one-off, hopefully. That is the reason for the payment support. It is not to pay insurance, per se, it is effectively to acknowledge the pressures and stresses around what has to be done in the year, and especially in an administrative capacity.
The Deputy referred to the figure of €1,500 perhaps not being sufficient. I suppose it does not really meet all of the increased costs but there are at least two ways in which we offer support. There is the one-off programme support payment. If a provider is in an unsustainable position - and I have checked this with my official Ms McNally - then it must contact the local city and county childcare committee or Pobal in the first instance and if it cannot get through to contact us. If the provider contacts the Department about the matter, we will know it is urgent. We will ask and we will be back in touch with them because it is an important issue for them.
Going back to the questions on the increase of 300% or even more, if it is causing a sustainability concern or issue, we need to hear from the provider. I am also indicating that I want immediately to begin to collect the information about the percentages of increase, the data, so that we better understand what is going on and what changes are now needed in respect of the sector, particularly because there is only one insurer at the moment, even though we hope that changes. I am trying to go back to some of the questions Deputy Sherlock raised.