Dáil Éireann - Volume 500 - 10 February, 1999

Written Answers. - Early Childhood Education.

100. Ms Shortall asked the Minister for Education and Science when the White Paper on early childhood education is likely to be completed; the way in which he will co-ordinate this with the interdepartmental working group on child care and the national children's strategy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3703/99]

Minister for Education and Science (Mr. Martin): Work on a White Paper on early childhood education has now commenced in my Department. This follows the National Forum for Early Childhood Education, which I hosted last year, and which provided an opportunity for all those involved in the area of early childhood education to come together and to share their views on future policy in the area. It is my intention that the White Paper will be completed as soon as possible.

At the same time, my Department will co-operate closely with the Interdepartmental Working Group on Childcare set up by the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform, and, indeed, will be represented as a member on that group. I hope that by working closely together, and sharing our expertise, we can produce an integrated response to the needs of children in this area.