A €1,000 ‘granny grant’ could apply to aunts, uncles, and other relatives as part of an Independent Alliance budget proposal which has been deemed a hunt for the grey vote.
Transport Minister Shane Ross was forced to defend his idea yesterday as campaigners and politicians — including a Fine Gael Gael minister — called the proposal a “crazy idea” without detail.
Dubbed the granny grant, the payment of €1,000 could be claimed by grandparents who self-certify that they provide a minimum of ten hours per week of childcare.
Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe shot down the kite-flying budget notion, telling Newstalk there were “really big questions” over the grant for grandparents helping with childcare.
Mr Ross told RTE that grandparents caring for children need to be recognised by the State and are forking out for meals, heating, and petrol, among other expenses.
The grant would not be policed but would not be unique if self-assessed, he added.
“I don’t see it being abused,” he said, conceding a vouched-for system may be needed otherwise.
“This is a very serious proposal. Maybe hundreds of thousands of grandparents in the State are doing a job which, maybe, the State should be doing itself. They’re making great sacrifices.”
Mr Ross conceded that, if the grant was introduced, it may have to be extended to other relatives, including uncles and aunts and others caring for children.
Grandparents had allowed their adult children work by taking on childcaring roles, saving on creche fees, said Mr Ross.
“Some of them are absolutely exhausted because they are doing this work on a full-time basis. Some feel that they are being taken for granted,” he said.