Thursday, 30 June 2005
Dáil Eireann Debate
546. Mr. Crawford asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the status of an application by a centre (details supplied) in County Monaghan for extension of after-school and crèche facilities; when the funding will be made available; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23958/05]
Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform (Mr. McDowell): The Deputy may be aware that the group in question has been awarded staffing grant assistance of €254,061 to date, under the equal opportunities child care programme 2000 to 2006.
I understand that an application for capital grant assistance under the EOCP was submitted by this group to my Department some time ago. This application has been forwarded to Area Development Management Limited, which is engaged by my Department to carry out detailed assessments of all EOCP grant applications on my behalf. Each application for funding undergoes a thorough assessment by ADM to ensure it meets the EOCP funding criteria.
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 the Minister for Finance, an additional capital provision of €90 million was made available, over the period 2005-09, in the context of the 2005 budget.
This brings the total funding available for the programme to €499.3 million and the amount set aside for capital developments to €205 million. The availability of the additional capital funding is enabling me to make capital grant assistance available to groups which can show that they address significant child care service gaps and where their project proposals represent good value for money when considered in respect of the current guidelines on building costs.
In the light of this, the group in question was advised in December 2004 that while its project had not been prioritised for immediate funding at that stage, it would be reconsidered for possible support in the future.
The ongoing assessment 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 assessment on the project in question is completed, the application will then be considered by the EOCP appraisal committee, chaired by my Department, before I make a final decision regarding funding. The group will be informed of the outcome in due course.
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