Léim ar aghaidh chuig an bpríomhábhar

Departmental Programmes.

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 22 March 2005

Tuesday, 22 March 2005

Ceisteanna (480)

Gerard Murphy


480 Mr. Murphy asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform when grant aid will be made available to provide child care facilities in Newmarket, County Cork. [8843/05]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform)

The Equal Opportunities Childcare Programme 2000-2006 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. A total of €169,305 has already been committed to groups in the Newmarket area of County Cork in respect of two applications for capital grant assistance under the EOCP. One of these applications is for joint after-school projects located in Kanturk and Newmarket. These allocations, when fully drawn down, will support 180 new child care places and 24 existing places.

I understand that two large scale capital applications were submitted to my Department in 2004 by community based not for profit groups in the Newmarket area. These applications are currently being assessed by Area Development Management Limited which administers the EOCP grants on my behalf.

The level of demand for capital grant assistance was such that I considered it important to increase the capital provision for the present programme. Following discussions with my colleague, the Minister for Finance, an additional capital provision of €90 million was made available over the period 2005-09, in the context of the 2005 budget. Of this amount, €50 million is being made available under the present programme and the remaining €40 million will flow under the next phase of the post-2006 EOCP.

This augments the increased EU funding of some €12 million made available last year in recognition of the progress of the programme. It brings the total funding available for the programme to €499.3 million and now includes an increased provision for capital developments for which €205 million has been set aside. Since budget 2005, I have announced a record allocation totalling almost €68 million in capital funding to community based not for profit groups, in two tranches, one in December 2004 and another on 4 March 2005.

The availability of the additional capital funding will enable me to make further capital grant assistance available to groups which address significant child care service gaps and where the project proposal represents good value for money when considered under the current guidelines on building costs. In light of this, groups from the area in question were advised in December 2004 that while their projects had not been prioritised for immediate funding at that stage, they would be reconsidered in the future. I intend to make further significant capital commitments during the remainder of 2005 and thereafter.

The ongoing assessment of the applications in the pipeline will be concluded as speedily as possible to facilitate the development of additional child care facilities and places at the earliest opportunity. When the assessments on the projects in question are completed, the applications will then be considered by the programme appraisal committee, chaired by my Department, before I make a final decision. In the interim, it would be premature of me to comment further on these applications for funding.