Saturday 19 October 2019

Fees for Dáil, RTÉ crèches well below top rates charged in the capital

Good example: TD Anne Rabbitte praised the Dáil crèche. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins
Good example: TD Anne Rabbitte praised the Dáil crèche. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Melanie Finn and Anne-Marie Walsh

The cost of childcare at crèches in the Dáil and at RTÉ is well below the top rates being charged in some parts of Dublin.

The Oireachtas crèche in Kildare House, that is situated in one of the most upmarket parts of the city centre, costs €996 a month for full-time care per child.

At nearby Giraffe Childcare, on Harcourt Road, the cost of full-time care being quoted this week was €1,345, and €1,140 if a child avails of the free State-funded pre-school scheme.

Dáil crèche prices are also below the highest average price - as revealed in a Pobal survey this week - in the Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown area.

Prices in that part of the city are up to €265 a week for children under one, or €1,149 a month.

The monthly Oireachtas crèche costs are around the average for the whole of Dublin, but this masks big variations between postcodes.

A spokesperson for Pobal, which carries out an annual childcare survey, said it does not have a breakdown of costs based on postcode areas.

An Oireachtas spokesperson said the Dáil crèche, which is run by Kids Inc, does not get funding. However, she said it pays a licence fee, which represents a "notional rent" for the premises.

She would not reveal what the licence fee is as it may be "commercially sensitive".

The crèche can accommodate up to 29 children and the cost is €230 per week, or €996 per month.

It is open from 8.30am to 6.30pm, Monday to Friday. It provides late night services during Dáil or Seanad sittings for €12 an hour.

For those entitled to a community childcare subvention, the cost is between €791 and €912 a month, according to documents obtained in a Freedom of Information request.

The contract was awarded to Kids Inc in 2017. As well as the licence fee, it pays for electricity, heating, cleaning and phone costs.

However, the Houses of the Oireachtas Service is responsible for the building and maintenance.

Fianna Fáil spokesperson on children and youth affairs Anne Rabbitte said more reasonable prices at the crèche may encourage women into the Oireachtas.

"It's not just for TDs and senators, it's available to staff as well," she said.

"Gender quotas were brought in for a reason - to get more women into politics.

"They will only come and work if there are services to support them.

"Maybe more employers should be providing childcare facilities closer to the workplace. It's a good example for other employers to follow."

RTÉ workers are also able to avail of highly competitive rates in the on-site crèche provided for those employees with children.

Run by Wee Care Day Nurseries, the purpose-built facility charges €219 per week, or €949 a month, for babies under two. This rate drops slightly for over twos, going to €209 per week or €905 a month. Dinners are included in this charge.

The RTÉ crèche covers an area of 6,000 square feet, and provides daytime care for up to 80 children from three months to five years.

A crèche chain close to the Montrose site, Giraffe crèche at Elm Court on Merrion Road, Dublin 4, charges parents €1,345 per month, which works out as €336.25 per week. This includes meals.

The average rate for the south Dublin area is €220.15, according to new research on childcare costs nationally carried out by the Department for Children and Youth Affairs.

Paying extra for dinners in crèches can cost parents up to €65 weekly or €260 a month for full-time care.

An RTÉ spokesperson said he had "no comment" to make when asked about how its crèche rates compared with Dublin or national averages.

"RTÉ does not directly subsidise the crèche on its Donnybrook campus, but provides the facility in which it operates," he added.

Irish Independent

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