Dáil Éireann - Volume 455 - 04 July, 1995

Written Answers. - EU Child Care Directive.

76. Mr. Sargent asked the Minister for Equality and Law Reform the steps, if any, that the Government has taken to implement the 1992 EU recommendation on child care encouraging increased participation by men in the care and upbringing of children in order to achieve a more equal sharing of parental responsibilities; and the moneys and projects which have been specifically assigned to this issue. [12199/95]

[1030] Minister for Equality and Law Reform (Mr. Taylor): The objective of the European Council Recommendation on child care is stated in Article 1 as being to “...progressively encourage initiatives to enable women and men to reconcile their occupational, family and upbringing responsibilities arising from the care of children”. In his question the Deputy refers to Article 6 of the recommendation which proposes the encouragement, with due regard for freedom of the individual, of increased participation of men in the sharing of parental responsibilities.

In my response to this recommendation I have concentrated on generating greater development of child care facilities as supports for parents of either gender. In the circumstances I have no specific data on the application of child-care measures exclusively for male workers.

In 1994 my Department established a scheme of funding to support the initiation of a number of pilot child care projects in disadvantaged areas for working parents and those wishing to pursue education and training. The scheme is administered by Area Development Management Ltd. (ADM). Under the pilot scheme, ADM invited proposals for grant assistance for new and innovative child care projects. Grants are payable in respect of capital outlay and start-up costs such as adaptation of premises, equipment purchase, [1031] essential staff training, etc. to enable local residents to undertake education, training, retraining and employment opportunities to which they would be otherwise unable to aspire in the absence of a child care facility. Funding of £1 million has been provided for 1995 and £951,000 has been allocated to 72 projects.