I am pleased to inform the Deputy that there has been a capital grant scheme in 2018. One of the principal goals of the 2018 early years and school age capital programmes, as in previous years, has been to assist childcare providers in creating new additional places where demand for those exists. The decisions in respect of the 2018 capital funding programmes were delivered to providers on 1 June, following a thorough and impartial appraisal process overseen by my Department. A total of 398 individual services throughout the country have been offered funding as a result, to a total value of €6.87 million. A total of €3.87 million of that amount has been allocated for the creation of new early years places in 85 separate projects. This funding will result in the creation of a total of 1,950 new places nationwide - 697 of which will be for zero to three year-olds, and 1,253 of which will ECCE places. In addition, €750,000 has been allocated for the creation of new school age childcare places in 45 separate projects. This funding will result in the creation of 807 new places in school age services.
The 2018 capital programmes generated extraordinary demand within the sector. As a result, only applications of the highest quality were successful on this occasion. However, services that narrowly missed out on funding have been added to a short capital reserve list. Those will be considered for funding in the event that any of the successful applicants are not in a position to use their funding. I am pleased at the level of interest in developing early years and school age places. I would like to continue this type of capital funding in 2019 and beyond, in order that we meet the demand for places in the coming years. I will carefully consider the level and quality of sectoral demand for all strands of funding, as well as all constructive feedback on this year's programmes in the development of capital funding for 2019.