Members of the Independent Alliance are calling for the introduction of a self-assessed payment for grandparents who help out caring for their grandchildren while the child's parents work. 

Members of the grouping met with Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe yesterday, where they put the proposed Grandparent and Grandchild Expenses Reimbursement Scheme on their Budget 2019 shopping list. 

Dubbed the 'Granny Grant', the payment of €1,000 would be available to grandparents who self-certify that they provide a minimum of ten hours per week of childcare.

But Fianna Fáil has already dismissed the idea and labelled it "immature kite flying".

In a statement issued to RTÉ News, Minister for Transport Shane Ross, who has spearheaded the idea for a few years, stated: "This proposal recognises the pivotal role played by the grandparents in supporting families and society. The love and care they show their grandchildren is invaluable and must be recognised.

"Their support assists both parents in returning to the workforce where they so choose, and ultimately contributes to the growth of our economy."

The Independent Alliance has called for a Budget that protects the vulnerable in our society.

As well as the 'Granny Grant', the four Independent Alliance members put forward proposals that included an increase in gambling taxes to fund addiction services; the reinstatement of the Bereavement Grant of €850 to help with funeral costs and an increase in the tax-free thresholds for Gift and Inheritance Tax.

Fianna Fáil Senator Lorraine Clifford-Lee has dismissed the Independent Alliance's proposal to introduce the €1,000 payment to grandparents as "mere immature kite flying".

She said it is "a rather pathetic attempt to resolve Ireland's ongoing crisis in childcare provision.

"Rather than put forward a well-thought out policy to increase the availability of affordable childcare, the Independent Alliance has thrown out what can only be described as an insult to the hundreds of thousands of parents and grandparents who are caring for children."

She added: "An annual payment of €1,000 will give the princely sum of €19.20 per week to grandparents; hardly an appropriate recognition of the sacrifice and dedication involved in caring for children."

She said the grant will not reduce "astronomical" childcare costs for struggling families.