“The Government should never have put fear and instilled anxiety in young vulnerable families, or in childcare workers who provide an excellent service in a most important area of the Irish community. There is now a real need for continuing vigilance as it was this arrogant Government that wanted to deprive many parents of the benefits available under the current scheme.
“Under the new announcement, the Government has almost accepted Fine Gael’s proposal by putting in place arrangements under which all services are guaranteed subvention under the new scheme at 95% of the current rates until the end of 2008.
“It is not merely unfortunate, but mealy-mouthed and Scrooge-like that the Government has determined at this time of year on an annualised basis to reduce next year’s childcare subvention benefit by 5%. It should have simply accepted Fine Gael’s proposal of six weeks ago and continued the subvention in full under the current scheme for the entirety of next year.”