Almost 2,000 children in Offaly receive childcare subsidies under the National Childcare Scheme

Minister for Children, Roderic O’Gorman, is calling on all parents in Offaly using Tusla-registered childcare services to make sure they are getting their full entitlement to subsidies, which could cut thousands of euros off their childcare bills each year.

1,916 children in County Offaly received subsidies towards the cost of their childcare under the National Childcare Scheme (NCS) in 2023, with more than €2.5 million paid to early learning and childcare providers in County Offaly to reduce parents’ fees.

Minister O’Gorman said: “With the Easter holidays approaching, many families will be looking for further childcare cover. While thousands of parents are receiving subsidies, many will be unaware they can use their subsidy for more hours than usual during mid-term and holidays, or even to cover one-off camps.

“There are almost 4,000 providers across the country eligible to receive your subsidy.

“I would strongly encourage all parents or guardians to talk their provider about their subsidies and extra hours over the holiday period if needed.

“Parents who want to explore using a childcare provider for the first time can talk to their local county childcare Committee.”

Currently, the minimum hourly subsidy is €1.40 an hour and it will be increasing to €2.14 in September. This will mean families using full time care (45 hours a week) will receive a minimum of €5,000 euro a year off their bill per child.

Many families can receive an Income Assessed Award, which is based on household income, which can be as high €12,000 per year for those using full-time care.

Families who would like to know if their childcare provider is registered for the NCS can access the Childcare Search Service on the NCS website, at where they can also see the providers’ fees list. Families will also find information on how to apply for the NCS.

Families who want some more support in how to apply can contact the Offaly County Childcare Committee. Childcare Committees are a local government funded support designed to help families access childcare supports.

Áine Brummell from Offaly County Childcare Committee, urged: “Parents in Offaly, if you are using a childcare service for children aged 6 months to 15 years, the National Childcare Scheme can provide a huge benefit to you by reducing your childcare cost.

"If you wish to find out more information on the NCS please contact the team at Offaly CCC who will answer any of your queries and guide you through the application process. Offaly CCC can be contacted on 057 9135787.”

“The Scheme Administrator, Pobal, also run a helpline to provide support and guidance to parents in relation to the NCS. The Parent Support Centre can be contacted on 01 906 8530 - Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm.”

Also for families from County Offaly planning a trip to Dublin, the team from the Department of Children, Equality, Disability Integration and Youth as well as County Childcare Committee members from across the country will be at the Pregnancy & Baby Fair in the RDS on March 23 and 24 to speak to parents and expectant parents about childcare so if you’re planning a visit, be sure to stop by stall G9.