Dáil Éireann - Volume 546 - 13 December, 2001

Written Answers. - Grant Payments.

233. Mr. N. Ahern asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the position in relation to the grants towards child care if grants are related to prices charged for child care; if price control is or should be in place; if a crèche (details supplied) in Dublin 7 received grant aid; his views on a situation which announced price increases to their clients on the afternoon of the budget child benefit increases. [32399/01]

Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform (Mr. O'Donoghue): As the Deputy is aware, this Government has identified child care as a priority area for investment in the National Development Plan 2000 to 2006. In total, IR£344 million, 436.79 million, comprising EU and Exchequer funding has been allocated to my Department over the course of the National Development Plan 2000 to 2006.

The primary objectives of this funding are to increase the availability and quality of child care places. This funding has an equal opportunities and social inclusion perspective and focuses on provision of child care to allow parents, particularly women, to avail of training, education or employment.

Capital grants are available to not for profit-community groups and private child care providers. Staffing grants are available to not for profit-community groups who demonstrate that their service has a focus on tackling disadvantage.

The fees charged are not a factor in relation to the consideration of grants allocated to private child care providers under the equal opportunities child care programme. Fees in respect of child care provision are not regulated. I have been informed by my Department's equal opportunities child care unit that no application for funding under the equal opportunities child care programme of my Department has been received from any service at the address provided by the Deputy.