FF pledges tax credits to ease childcare costs on families
FIANNA Fáil has pledged to give working families tax credits of up to €2,000 to cover childcare costs if voted into Government.
The party will also introduce a second free pre-school year and invest more funding in the current system.
Paid maternity leave will be extended from 26 to 30 weeks and parents will be able to split unpaid leave between them under the party's new childcare policy.
Fianna Fáil children's spokesman Robert Troy said the range of new measures would cost the State an additional €180m.
Mr Troy said a Childcare Support Credit would be paid out annually across three bands.
The credit would be based on one parent's earnings and support up to 40pc of childcare costs capped at €5,000.
Those earning between €30,000 to €40,000 would receive €2,000 per year, while parents earning between €40,000 to €50,000 would get €1,500.
Those earning between €50,000 to €60,000 would receive a €1,000 annual payment under the scheme, according to Mr Troy.
VP candidate defends the 'Galway tent'
A CANDIDATE vying for the vice-president position of Fianna Fáil has strongly defended the controversial 'Galway tent'.
Gerry O'Connor, who is from the Sligo/Leitrim constituency, described the 'Galway tent' as being among the most "transparent fundraising initiatives" undertaken by a political party in this country.
"As if a 'day at the races' was the route of all evil," he said in his manifesto.
"No one at the ceiliuradh was hiding from anyone and its genesis was grounded in the support of other hugely important industries; horse racing and breeding, for which our island is renowned," he added.
'Staff morale in health service has collapsed'
STAFF morale in the health system has collapsed as Minister Leo Varadkar focuses on PR distractions, according to Micheál Martin.
The Fianna Fáil leader has accused Mr Varadkar of failing to thrash out a long-term plan for the health service.
"The more he gets challenged, the more political he's getting and the more photo opportunities he schedules," Mr Martin said.
The Cork TD said health would be a key election issue. "And the health policy which we have now launched is credible, costed and can be delivered in full," said Mr Martin.