Dáil Éireann - Volume 597 - 08 February, 2005

Written Answers - Pre-school Services.

  470. Mr. Quinn asked the Minister for Education and Science the number of publicly funded pre-school places in County Meath; the way in which this per capita proportion of pre-school places compares with the rest of the country. [3460/05]

  Ms Hanafin: My Department funds pre-school places, primarily under schemes aimed at tackling educational disadvantage and for children with special needs.

In 1994-95, the early start pre-school project was established in 40 primary schools in designated areas of urban disadvantage in Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Waterford, Galway, Drogheda and Dundalk. There are no early start pre-schools in County Meath. In addition, my Department currently funds approximately 380 Traveller pre-school places throughout the country, of which 19 places are in County Meath. One Traveller pre-school currently has an application lodged with my Department to offer another 12 places. This application is being examined by officials in my Department at present. The provision of Traveller pre-school places in County Meath compares favourably with provision elsewhere in the country.

My Department has also sanctioned on a pilot basis a facility, which provides an applied behavioural analysis model, ABA, of response to children with autism in County Meath. This facility caters for up to 24 children ranging from three to ten years of age. The Deputy should note that the Departments of Justice, Equality and Law Reform and Health and Children also provide significant funding for pre-school places across the country.