Newly elected Sinn Féin TD Ruairí Ó Murchú wants all five TDs in Louth to come together to meet the Department of Children and Youth Affairs in a bid to finding a solution that will ensure after-school services in the county do not see funding withdrawn.
Ó Murchú made the comments on Friday after visiting The Boomerang Cafe on Fair Street in Drogheda along with another new TD, Labour’s Ged Nash.
Representatives from after-school services operating in both Cox’s Demesne and Toberona in Dundalk and Moneymore in Drogheda were in attendance, while the Muirhevnamor after-school service in Dundalk is also among those affected.
“The issue arises due to changes in the funding model associated with the National Childcare Scheme which will mean that almost all of the children currently using the service will be ineligible,” the Deputy explained.
“This will have a hugely detrimental impact, not only on the services in question but also on the children and families affected. These After School Services are located in some of the most socially disadvantaged areas in Louth and I know that the work done with the children and young people who attend makes a real difference in their lives.”
The National Childcare Scheme came into effect in October last year, replacing most of the current childcare programmes. The National Childcare Scheme provides two types of childcare subsidy for children over six months of age – a universal subsidy for children under three, which is not means tested and an income assessed subsidy for children up to 15, which is means-tested.
“I will champion any supports which are being delivered in areas in which really good people are living with huge difficulties in terms of drug related criminality and antisocial behaviour. I will also stand against any reduction in service delivery in these areas.”
The former Louth County councillor said that as a result of Friday’s meeting, he had written to the other TDs in Louth with a view to seeking a joint meeting with the Assistant Secretary General in the Department of Children & Youth Affairs’ Early Learning and School Age Childcare Division.
“I am hopeful that a resolution can be found and I commend the four service providers for coming together to update Deputies on this issue.”