Irish Budget 2022 marks significant investment in childcare

In his Budget 2022 speech delivered today (Wednesday 12 October), Irish Minister for Public Expenditure Michael McGrath announced additional funding for the childcare sector, resulting in €716 million being invested in the sector next year aimed at tackling high fees, improving pay for staff in the sector and ensuring services are sustainable.

Key announcements include:

  • An extension of the universal subsidy under the National Childcare Scheme, which is not means-tested, applying to up to 40,000 children at a cost of €5 million.
  • An additional €68 million in core funding for childcare providers, aimed at supporting better staff pay and conditions, tied to a commitment that there will be no further increases in fees for parents.
  • Hours spent in pre-school or school will no longer be deducted from subsidised hours available for families under the current National Childcare Scheme, benefiting an estimated 5,000 children from lower income families.
  • €37 million in further funding for Covid-19 related costs.

Further information on the Budget 2022 is available here.

While further detail is still to come, this is important investment in, and recognition of, a sector that has really demonstrated its vital role during the Covid-19 pandemic. There is learning for Northern Ireland as we look to the development of a new Childcare Strategy to ensure that it is ambitious in seeking to support the entire sector to be more sustainable, the childcare workforce to receive better pay and recognition, focus on quality early education and care outcomes for children, and to address the affordability of childcare for parents.