Dáil Éireann - Volume 597 - 08 February, 2005
Written Answers - Child Care Services.
Mr. O’Shea Mr. O’Shea
436. Mr. O’Shea asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if there is an appeal system whereby unsuccessful applicants for capital funding for a community child care facility can have their case reviewed (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3740/05]
Mr. McDowell Mr. McDowell
Mr. McDowell: In December 2004, I announced a further allocation of almost €35 million in capital funding to community-based not-for-profit groups for the development of child care services. At the same time, my Department wrote to all applicants whose projects are still under consideration to advise them that the allocation of further capital funding would be announced in 2005 and 2006 on the basis of further appraisal of local need and the quality of applications on hand. This project received such a letter.
I understand an application for capital grant assistance under the Equal Opportunities Childcare Programme 2000-2006, EOCP, was submitted by the group to my Department some time ago. The EOCP 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.
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 to 2009 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. This 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.
The availability of the additional capital funding will enable me to make further capital grant assistance available over the coming months and years to groups which address significant child care service gaps and where the project proposal represents good value for money when considered in respect of the current guidelines on building costs. In the light of this, the group in question has been advised that while its project had not been prioritised for immediate funding in December 2004, it will be reconsidered in the future, and that I hope to make further significant capital commitments during 2005 and thereafter.
The ongoing appraisal 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 appraisal on the project in question is completed, the application 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 this application.
Dáil Éireann 597 Written Answers Child Care Services.