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Tuesday, 9th October 2018

O'Dowd welcomes budget’s “significant investment in Health and Childcare”

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Deputy Fergus O’Dowd with Minister for Health Simon Harris TD at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in 2016, with Caitriona Crowley, Group General Manager Louth Hospital Group and Mr. Sherif El Masry, Interim Clinical Director and Consultant Surgeon Louth Hospital Group.

Local TD, Fergus O'Dowd, has welcomed the “significant investment in Health and Childcare” measures of Budget 2019 saying they will improve the lives of many households in this constituency.

“Health measures 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" he said.

“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.”

“Separately we will see families in our community 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 across not only in terms of accessing childcare but also in terms of encouraging people back into the workplace.

“This year’s fair 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.

“My colleague, Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform Paschal Donohoe, intends to increase this to seven extra weeks over time.”

"Other positive measures will see an increase of 1,300 teaching posts, 950 will be additional SNAs and 350 teachers. The minimum wage will also increase to €9.80 per hour in January.

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