Deputy Rabbitte is speaking particularly about the two-year preschool ECCE programme. I am satisfied in recent years at the way in which the ECCE service has been delivered, especially by the providers. As time has moved on we have increased the number and time period within which the service is available to children throughout the country. I am satisfied that the planning has been undertaken by the Department in concert with the providers. There is terrific engagement and ongoing communication with providers through the early years forum that I established and these features were evident prior to the forum as well. They are also evident through Pobal's engagement in identifying the number of places required in the various parts of the country and the ways in which providers are offering the services. Some participate in the ECCE scheme while others participate in the ECCE scheme and provide after-school services as well.
There is a need to build more places and spaces as more children are born in various parts of the country. That is why we continue to roll out the capital investment programme. There is increasing need on the part of providers to ensure that ongoing continuing professional development is provided for. Again, that is why the Department has offered increases in the learner development fund. The service is largely demand-led. Certain statistics can lead us in that regard but I am confident that we will continue to do the work that has been done in recent years.