Communities across Carlow to benefit from new healthcare and childcare measures.

15th October, 2018

Greater access to GP visit cards, €1 billion investment in mental health services and more families to benefit from Affordable Childcare Scheme in progressive Budget for 2019
Budget 2019 shows healthcare and childcare are key priorities for Government, a Fine Gael TD has said.
Deputy Pat Deering, Fine Gael TD for Carlow, said the Budget contains a range of new fair and sustainable measures to care for the most vulnerable in our communities and make life easier for families in Carlow.
Deputy Deering stated: “This year, Fine Gael will invest an additional €1.2 billion in health, facilitating a range of additional services including initiatives proposed under Sláintecare.
“These include a €25 increase in the weekly income threshold for GP Visit cards; a 50 cent reduction in prescription charges from €2.00 to €1.50 for all medical card holders over the age of 70; and a €10 reduction in the monthly Drugs Payment Scheme threshold from €134 to €124.
“An additional €84 million will be provided for Mental Health Services in 2019 bringing the total available funding for Mental Health to €1 billion, an increase of 9 per cent.
“We are also providing €150 million more for disability services next year to bring total funding in this area to almost €2 billion.
“This year’s Health Budget is the highest level of Health investment in the history of the State.”
Deputy Deering continued: “In delivering a caring and responsible Budget for a modern Ireland, we have also increased funding for childcare.
“Some €574 million will be invested in the childcare and early learning sector, a boost of €90 million.
“Now more families in Carlow are set to benefit from the Affordable Childcare scheme as we will increase the income thresholds next year.
“The base income threshold is being raised from €22,700 to €26,000; the maximum income threshold will go from €47,500 to €60,000; and the multiple child deduction will increase from €3,800 to €4,300.

“This scheme makes a real difference to the lives of thousands of families here in Carlow not only in terms of accessing childcare but also in terms of encouraging people back into the workplace.
“This year’s Budget will also see the introduction of a new paid parental leave scheme in November 2019 to provide two extra weeks’ leave to every parent of a child in their first year. And the Minister intends to increase this to seven extra weeks over time.”
Deering concluded: “This progressive and caring Budget will make a real difference in the lives of families and communities across Carlow.”