A total of 2,805 children at services in Cork City and a further 12,557 children at services in Cork County have benefitted from the Early Childhood Care and Education scheme (ECCE) in the current year.
My Department, in conjunction with Pobal, reviews ECCE capacity on an ongoing basis and while there can be pressures in some immediate localities, all eligible children have been catered for. My Department also works closely with the local City and County Childcare Committees in this regard.
From September 2018, the ECCE Programme will revert to one single entry point in a given ECCE Programme Year (September). From this time, children will be entitled to two full years of ECCE provision. This meets the commitment given in the Programme for Government.
As regards capacity, and having regard to demographic trends, from September 2018, the number of ECCE enrolments in any given year will be in the region of 114,000. Given that 118,000 places are currently filled, no immediate capacity issues are expected for those children due to register for ECCE in September 2018.
In addition my Department has just announced the provision of €6.87m in capital supports in 2018 for the Early Years sector. This funding supports both capacity and quality initiatives.