Dublin creche drops plan to hike fees after assurances of extra public funding

Safari had planned to raise prices almost 25% and says Minister failed to respond to queries

The creche group said it was ‘now growing in trust that the schemes will be delivered’. Photograph: iStock

The creche group said it was ‘now growing in trust that the schemes will be delivered’. Photograph: iStock

 

Parents with children in a Dublin creche have been told that as a result of the Government’s announcement of increased childcare support in the coming years, a planned hike in fees of almost 25 per cent would not now be going ahead.

Safari Childcare sent an email to parents at a creche on Clancy Quay, Dublin 8, on Wednesday in the wake of the Government announcement of increased investment in early-years care.

State childcare spending will rise to €1 billion annually within six years, leading to lower fees and higher staff wages, Minister for Children Roderic O’Gorman said, when announcing the new policy.

In response Safari, which had emailed parents with children at the Clancy Quay creche recently advising them of fee increases scheduled to come into effect from January, sent a new email saying this would not now be happening.

The change of mind came after Safari was “finally” contacted by the Minister’s office and given a new level of information about changes that had been “vaguely announced” in Budget 2022, the email said.

No response

The planned fee hike was in response to cost increases “compounded by the absolute absence of any detail” over the three months since the budget announcement, the email said.

“Despite writing to the Minister and other elected representatives more than nine times in detail and at length, the Minister furnished us with absolutely zero reply on any level regarding the Budget 2022 future childcare schemes.”

“This is an unacceptable position to any operator after a request was issued [by the department] around freezing of fees.”

Following the contact on Tuesday, the group said, it was “now growing in trust that the schemes will be delivered”.

“Based on a guarantee of ... fair delivery of these schemes by the Government, we will continue with our reduced 2018 fee levels, deferring any change in January as previously announced,” the email said.

The planned fee increase had been reported earlier this week by The Irish Times which quoted a spokesman for Childcare Services Ireland who said the need to pay higher wages to staff in early childcare was pushing up costs.

A request for a comment from the Safari group met with no response.