I understand that an application for capital grant assistance under the Equal Opportunities Childcare Programme 2000-2006 was submitted by the group in question to my Department some time ago. The programme is a seven year development programme which aims to increase the availability and quality of childcare to support parents in employment, education and training.
As the Deputy may be aware, each application for funding undergoes a thorough assessment by Area Development Management Limited, which has been engaged by my Department to carry out the day to day administration of the programme. All assessed applications are then considered by the programme appraisal committee, which is chaired by my Department, before I make a final decision on the matter.
I understand that in this case the programme appraisal committee was unable to recommend the project to me for funding because the proposal raised certain issues around the displacement of other local services. In particular the project in question would have been in close proximity and therefore would probably be in competition with another childcare facility which had already received funding under the equal opportunities childcare programme.
I understand that an appeal has been lodged by the group in question and that this appeal is currently under consideration by ADM Limited. Following receipt of an appeal ADM Limited again examines the application in the light of any additional information which might be supplied in support of the original application. Subsequent to this process the proposal will be presented again to the programme appraisal committee who will be given an opportunity to consider any of the additional information which might be relevant before recommending to me the appropriateness or otherwise of the project for funding purposes.
In the interim it would be inappropriate for me to comment any further on this matter.