I understand a capital grant application for more than €1.3 million was submitted by the group in question to my Department some time ago. An application for staffing grant assistance was also submitted by the group. The equal opportunities child care programme 2000-06 is a seven-year development programme which aims to increase the availability and quality of child care to support parents in employment, education and training. The progress of the programme was commented upon very favourably by the mid-term evaluators of both the regional operational programmes and the National Development Plan 2000-2006 and, following the mid-term review, additional funding of approximately €12 million was made available for the child care measures. This brings the total funding available for the programme to €449.3 million, which includes increased provision for capital developments for which €157 million has been allocated.
Since 2000 my Department, with the technical assistance of ADM Limited has processed and I have approved 1,253 applications for capital grant assistance of more than €120 million and 997 applications for staffing grant assistance totalling €103 million. Almost €45 million has been allocated for quality projects.
A list of outstanding capital applications is being finalised and my Department will write to the applicants in early December. In the meantime, the funding position for this programme will be discussed by the relevant officials in the Departments of Justice, Equality and Law Reform and Finance. In the interim, it would be premature to comment further on the capital grant application in question.