Keane welcomes change to valuation legislation

Fine Gael Press Office
Senator Cáit Keane
Dublin South-West

Thursday, November 20th 2014

Keane welcomes change to valuation legislation

Community childcare providers will be exempt from commercial rates

Fine Gael Senator for Dublin South-West, Cáit Keane, has today (Thursday) said she is very pleased that for not-for-profit community childcare providers are to be exempt from commercial rates. Senator Keane was speaking after the Minister for State in the Department of Finance with responsibility for the Office of Public Works, Simon Harris TD, with the agreement of the majority of Seanad members. introduced an amendment to the Valuation (Amendment)(No.2) Bill 2012, which will exempt up to 1,000 Community Childcare providers
“As someone with a professional background in early childhood education and Montessori, I have been proposing this exemption for community creches and childcare facilities since the publication of this Bill in 2012. I am very pleased that this amendment by the Minister has been agreed to by a majority of all sides of the political divide in the Seanad and was agreed at Report Stage in the Seanad today.
“It is incumbent upon the Government consider the importance of early childhood education and this measure is a very proactive step in this regard. Early childhood education has proved to be a return in investment for the State but, more importantly, we know the importance for children in their development. We know that 80% of a child’s development occurs by the age of 3. At just 22 months a child’s development level can accurately predict his or her educational outcome at 26 years of age. That means that at 22 months we know the educational outcome for a child. That fact reinforces for me the importance of early childhood education. Exempting community child care providers from commercial rate helps to promote early childhood education in terms of making it more accessible to hard pressed working parents.
“This exemption will normalise the application of commercial rates for not-for-profit and charitable providers of childcare which represent approximately 30% of the sector. Significant direct support is provided to all childcare and early education providers particularly through the free pre-school year scheme. I look forward to the passage of the Bill to law in the New Year.”

ENDS

New planning reforms will provide a jobs boost for construction sector – Keane

Fine Gael Dublin South West bye-election candidate, Senator Cáit Keane, has welcomed new planning reforms, saying that they will lead to more jobs for workers in the construction sector.

“Under the proposed new legislation, 10% of units in new housing schemes will be set aside for social housing,” she outlined. “Additional measures include a levy on sites that are left vacant, which will encourage developers to complete sites which have been zoned for development.

“Developers will be liable to pay a 3% tax on the value of sites that have been left vacant,” Senator Keane continued. “This will kick-start the commencement of some now derelict sites in Dublin South West, and lead to job creation for construction workers in this area.

“I welcome these reforms. Under the new legislation, developers will be legally bound to meet their social housing targets. The provision of decent housing is a huge issue in this area and currently, we have a shortage of supply. These measures will go some way to provide new houses, particularly for low income families and may also impact on curbing rent increases.

“The Planning Bill is part of the Government’s Construction Strategy which aims to provide affordable homes by tripling the housing output by 2020 and adding up to 60,000 jobs to the construction sector. We won’t solve this problem overnight, but we are moving in the right direction,” Senator Keane added.

ENDS

Keane is campaigning for a second free pre-school year -2nd free pre-school year would represent up to €3000 free childcare for parents and would generate thousands of new jobs

Fine Gael bye-election candidate for Dublin South West, Senator Cáit Keane has confirmed that she is campaigning for a second free pre-school year.

“There is an increasing body of Irish and international evidence proving the benefits of early intervention for pre-school children in terms of improving outcomes and delivering significant returns to the state, both in terms of economic and societal benefits. The existing free pre-school year has benefitted thousands of families in Tallaght, Terenure, Citywest and Firhouse – providing educational and social stimulation for pre-schoolers, allowing parents time to work, knowing their children are in a safe and nurturing environment,” she stated.

“I believe a second free pre-school year brings positive educational and developmental outcomes for children of this area, equipping them with the tools for learning that will stand to them throughout their lives

“In addition to the obvious benefit to the children, the provision of a second free pre-school year free of charge would save parents between €2,500 and €3,000 in playschool or montessori fees per year. As uptake on the year is likely to be high, additional staff would have to be recruited, generating between 4,000 and 5,000 jobs around the country.

“This is something I have raised with my Fine Gael colleague, the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr. James Reilly TD,” Senator Keane continued. “From my discussion with him, I understand that a full review of the existing free pre-school year must be completed in the first instance, but the extension of the scheme to run for a 2nd year is something he is also in favour of, so we will be working together to try to achieve this goal,” Senator Keane concluded.

ENDS