Press Release

Minister for Children announces almost €12 million in additional grants for the development and support of the childcare sector

62 projects to benefit from almost € 12 million childcare support

The Minister for Children, Mr. Brian Lenihan, T.D., announced today almost € 11 million in capital grant assistance and over €1 million in staffing grant assistance to childcare providers.

Sixty two childcare providers, which include a mix of both community based and private childcare providers, will benefit from this funding.

The Minister was pleased to report that total funding committed under the Equal Opportunities Childcare Programme 2000-2006 (EOCP) to mid February 2006 is projected to create over 40,000 new childcare places, as well as leading to the enhancement of over 32,000 existing places. By the end of June 2005, some 26,000 of the new childcare places were already in place as a result of the expenditure to date.

Minister Lenihan said the Government had given a clear mandate for expansion of the childcare sector with ambitious targets for the next 5 years, including the creation of 50,000 new childcare places to meet identified local needs, not just in terms of numbers but also in terms of the specific needs for pre-school services, school age childcare and wrap around services for children and parents. While meeting the targets will require careful planning and incremental development, Minister Lenihan said he was confident that the new National Childcare Strategy has given him the necessary tools to deliver them through the major National Childcare Investment Programme 2006-2010 of €575 million and the bringing together of the key areas of children’s services under a single new Office of the Minister for Children

An information note for editors on the National Childcare Investment Programme and Equal Opportunities Childcare Programme is appended.

A list of the applicants receiving funding under today’s announcement is attached below.


Group Name County Service Address Amount (€)
Tullow Childcare Association Carlow 29 Abbey View, Tullow, Co. Carlow 1,400,000
Drumlane Community Partnership Cavan Milltown, Belturbet, Co. Cavan 187,120
The Childrens House Cavan 47-48 Ashbrooke Manor, Moynehall, Cavan 73,127
Bright Sparks Montessori School Cork 85 Beech Road, Muskerry Estate, Ballincollig, Co. Cork 9,369
Cobh Family Resource Centre Ltd. Cork Park House, Cloyne Terrace, Cobh, Co. Cork 42,469
Holyhill/Knocknaheeny Family Centre Cork Harbour View Road, Knocknaheeny, Cork 487,784
Mahon Community Crèche & Child Development Centre Cork Unit 5,6 & 7 Community Resource Centre, Avenue de Rennes, Mahon, Cork 166,693
Shelly’s Childminding Service Donegal 5 Logan Close, Ludden, Buncrana, Co. Donegal 13,500
Appletree Crèche & Montessori Dublin 10 Leinster Square, Rathmines, Dublin 6 100,000
Coiste Naíonra Mológa, Grainne, Marjorie, Treasa & Deirdre Dublin Scoil Mológa, Bóthar Clarville, Baile Atha Cliath 6W 80,269
First Steps Pre-School Dublin 2 Huxley Crescent, Off Cork Street, Dublin 8 78,965
Lucan Institute of Further Education Dublin Esker Hill, Lucan, Co. Dublin 1,000,000
The Learning Curve Dublin 21 Bellevue Avenue, Glenageary, Co. Dublin 15,314
The Little Children’s Centre Dublin St. Anne’s Primary School, Fettercairn, Tallaght, Dublin 24 786,000
Treehouse Childcare (Clonsilla) Dublin Allendale Walk, Allendale, Clonsilla, Dublin 15 60,239
Treehouse Childcare (Donabate) Dublin Ballisk Court, Donabate, Co. Dublin 48,471
Busy Bees Galway 42 Riverwalk, Gort, Co. Galway 20,925
Renvyle Childcare Committee Galway Derryherbert, Letterfrack, Co. Galway 600,000
The Trinity Den Galway Mervue National School, Galway 86,178
Tír na nÓg Galway Ballylara, Ardrahan, Co. Galway 30,000
Bernie Willis Kerry Cromane Lower, Killorglin, Co. Kerry 25,605
Comhlacht Óige Lispóil Teo Kerry Gráig, Lispóil, Co. Chiarraí 505,000
Little Treasures Kerry Sive House, Old Road, Cahirciveen, Co. Kerry 18,245
Smarty’s Montessori Kerry Scart, Gortatlea, Ballymacelligott, Tralee, Co. Kerry 41,868
Ardreigh Childcare Centre Kildare Ardreigh, Athy, Co. Kildare 52,500
Busy Fingers Crèche Ltd. Kildare Corbally, Newbridge, Co. Kildare 100,000
Loughboy Area Resource Centre Kilkenny Bishop Birch Training Institute, Nuncio Road, Kilkenny 1,400,000
Ballymorris Pre-school Committee Laois c/o Presentation Sisters, Ballymorris Road, Portarlington, Co. Laois 11,000
Caherelly Kids Limerick Caherelly, Grange, Kilmallock, Co. Limerick 80,848
Hospital Family Resource Centre Ltd. (Kids Klub Committee) Limerick Knockainey Road, Hospital, Co. Limerick 14,800
Presentation Preschool (Limerick) Limerick Sexton Street, Limerick 175,000
Sunflowers Community Preschool Limerick Old CBS, Monastery Road, Doon. Co. Limerick 19,295
Harmony House Ltd. (Tir na nOg) Longford Lanna Aoibhinn Resource Centre, Longford 30,840
Mary Harvey Longford 16 Dún Darrach, Dublin Road, Longford 100,000
Cliara Development Company Ltd. Mayo c/o Community Centre, Clare Island, Co. Mayo 53,557
County Meath VEC Childcare Group Meath Administrative Offices, Meath VEC, Abbey Road, Navan, Co. Meath 12,047
Dunshaughlin Community Créche Meath Lagore Road, Dunshaughlin, Co. Meath 1,000,000
Scallywags Playgroup & Afterschool Service Meath Unit 9, Parkview, Blackcastle Shopping Centre, Navan, Co. Meath 35,111
Glaslough Community Playschool Monaghan Oakland Centre, Glaslough, Co. Monaghan 80,207
Little Scholars Montessori School Monaghan 38 Park Road, Drumillard, Castleblayney, Co. Monaghan 100,000
Riverbank Childcare Service (Emyvale Development Association) Monaghan Enterprise Centre, Mill Road, Emyvale, Co. Monaghan 34,102
Rainbows Playschool Offaly 2 Shandra Woods, Portarlington, Co. Offaly 24,569
Ballyrush Community Childcare Ltd. Sligo Ballyrush, Castlebaldwin, Co. Sligo 502,000
Cosy Cats Sligo Calry Rectory, The Mall, Sligo 66,545
Dromore West Community Playgroup Sligo Dromore West Community Centre, Dromore West, Co. Sligo 5,000
Gaile Pre-school Tipperary Gaile N.S., Holycross, Thurles, Co. Tipperary 14,562
Knockanrawley Resource Centre Tipperary Knockanrawley, Tipperary Town 240,122
Treasure Island Community Playgroup Tipperary 16 Kickham Street, Carrick-on-Suir, Co. Tipperary 80,064
South West Wexford Community Development Group Wexford Ramsgrange, New Ross, Co. Wexford 42,914
Teach na bPaistí Playgroup Wexford St. Edan’s Hall, Clone Road, Ferns, Co. Wexford 625,000
Cosy Tots Wicklow Coollattin Road, Carnew, Co. Wicklow 54,357



Group Name County Service Address Amount (€)
Carlow VEC Childcare Centre Carlow Athy Road, Carlow 161,300**
Cootehill Community Resource House Cavan 118 Drumnaveil, Cootehill, Co. Cavan 44,100**
Glenfields Créche Steering Group Cork Glenfields, Ballyvolane, Cork 127,000*
Daughters of Charity Child & Family Services Dublin North William Street, Dublin 1 150,000*
Dominican Montessori Preschool Ltd. Dublin Convent Road, Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin 40,300**
Ballygar Community Playgroup Galway Main Street, Ballygar, Co. Galway 96,000**
The Trinity Den Galway Mervue National School, Galway 93,275*
Harmony House Ltd. Longford Lanna Aoibhinn Resource Centre, Longford 90,000*
Comharcumann Naíonra Cois Fharraige Teoranta Mayo Drum, Clochar, Béal an Átha, Co. Mhaigh Eo 35,760**
Naíonra Dhun Chaochain Mayo Ceathrú Thaidhg, Béal an Átha, Co. Mhaigh Eo 31,800**
Ferbane Community Childcare Group Offaly Ferbane, Co. Offaly 150,000*

* over two years ** to 31/12/07

Note for the information of editors

1 National Childcare Investment Programme (NCIP) 2006 – 2010

1.1 A New National Childcare Investment Programme 2006 – 2010

This was announced by the Minister for Finance, Mr. Brian Cowen T.D. on 7 December last, in Budget 2006. Also announced was a landmark decision to create an Office of the Minister for Children, under the Minister for Children, Mr Brian Lenihan, T.D. who will report directly to Cabinet on matters relating to children and their welfare.

1.2 General Briefing New Programme

The New Programme is a key element of the National Childcare Strategy 2006 – 2010 to be implemented by the new Office of the Minister for Children. It is effective from 1 January 2006 and succeeds the Equal Opportunities Childcare Programme (EOCP) 2000 – 2006.

Unlike the existing EOCP 2000 – 2006, the new Programme is entirely Exchequer funded. The decision by the Government to create a major new 5 year Investment Programme immediately, rather than wait until the EOCP expired, is evidence of the Government’s commitment to the provision of quality childcare.

All key areas of children’s services relating to child protection and welfare, early childhood care and education and juvenile justice will now be brought together under the Minister for Children and in a single new Office.

Civil servants drawn from the Departments of Justice, Equality and Law Reform; Health and Children; and Education and Science will assist the Minister and will be co-located in the Office of the Minister for Children, bringing with them their expertise in childcare policy and services.

1.3 Objectives of New Programme

The New Programme aims to provide a proactive response to the development of quality childcare supports and services which are grounded in an understanding of local needs. It will build on the existing EOCP Programme and will incorporate the following key objectives:

  • Increasing the supply by 50,000 additional childcare places. This is over and above the 26,000 places already in place and the 15,000 due to come on stream under the EOCP.
  • Improving the quality of early childhood care and education services including part-time, full day care, school age childcare and childminding.
  • Supporting families and breaking the cycle of disadvantage.
  • Supporting a co-ordinated approach to the delivery of childcare which is centred on the needs of the child.

Services eligible for support include those providing care for babies, full day care, part time places, pre-school places, school age childcare including “wrap around” childcare places and childminding. Special consideration will be given to support services which provide a range of these services.

1.4 Main elements of New Programme

  • €575 million has been allocated over 5 years (2006/2010) with a target to create 50,000 additional childcare places and with a greater focus on pre-school places for 3 to 4 year olds and school age childcare.

The 50,000 will include 5,000 after school places and 10,000 pre-school education places aimed at 3 to 4 year olds.

  • The delivery of the Programme will be facilitated through a proactive approach by the City/County Childcare Committees (CCCs) in identifying and meeting local childcare needs.
  • A strategic approach will be adopted to developing training and standards for childcare workers, with direct linkages to FÁS, VECs, NVCOs, and the Centre for Early Childhood Development and Education (CECDE). A target of 17,000 additional trained childcare personnel has been set.
  • Co-ordination and integration will be enhanced at national and local level between the key players, including Local Planning Authorities and County Development Boards.

1.5 Funding Schemes New Programme

  • The maximum Capital Grants available for the building or expansion of childcare facilities will be:
    • €1 million per facility for Community Based Not For Profit Providers;
    • €100,000 per facility for Private Providers (subject to a maximum of 75% of the total cost) and a maximum of €500,000 for multiple services in different catchment areas.
  • A small Capital Grant Scheme for Parent and Toddler Groups will be available and will have a particular focus on disadvantaged areas.
  • The Current funding stream will assist with Staffing and other operating costs in those community facilities that cannot meet the costs from fee income alone and will also underpin the further development of the City/County Childcare Committees (CCCs).

1.6 Expanded Role of City/County Childcare Committees (CCCs)

The CCCs will play a key role in the implementation of the new Programme to enable greater flexibility and responsiveness to local needs.

Additional funding will be made available shortly to CCCs to enable them to undertake their expanded role which includes supporting applicants, training and promoting School Age Childcare. CCCs are developing Supplementary Action Plans for 2006 and are expected to start recruiting additional staff shortly.

2 Equal Opportunities Childcare Programme

2.1 Programme Objectives

The main objectives of the Equal Opportunities Childcare Programme are to:

  • improve the quality of childcare;
  • maintain and increase the number of childcare facilities and places; and
  • to introduce a co-ordinated approach to the delivery of childcare services.

In this context, the term “Childcare” refers to day care facilities and services for pre-school children and school going children out of school hours. It includes services offering care, education and socialisation opportunities for children to the benefit of children, parents, employers and the wider community. Thus services such as naíonraí, day care services, crèches, play groups, childminding and after-school groups are included, but schools (primary, secondary and special) and residential centres for children are excluded.

2.2 The key achievements to date include

  • Funding commitments made to date are expected to lead to the creation of over 40,000 new centre based childcare places;
  • 26,000 of these new centre based childcare places are already in place;
  • Ongoing supports towards the staffing costs for childcare services which support parents who are disadvantaged and who are in employment, education and training;
  • Programme well ahead of target which originally envisaged 28,500 new places by end 2007;
  • Establishment of the 33 City and County Childcare Committees which, inter alia, support the local development of childcare and ensure that childcare is considered in County Development Plans;
  • Supports to enhance the quality of childminders who are very often the childcare option of preference of Irish parents – this includes a Quality Awareness Programme, a Small Grants Scheme and networking and information initiatives – all being organised by the City and County Childcare Committees;
  • Major investment to enhance quality and training for childcare practitioners.

2.3 How the Programme works

The EOCP operates under three sub-measures to meet its aims and provides grant assistance for Capital developments, for Staffing support in disadvantaged areas and for Quality Improvement. Details of some of the funding measures operated by the Department are outlined below:

2.3.1 Capital Grant Scheme for Community/Not for Profit organisations

This capital scheme applies to a community based/not-for-profit group or organisation or a community based/not-for-profit consortium of private and community groups, providing support towards the building, renovation, upgrading or equipping of community based childcare facilities.

2.3.2 Capital Grant Scheme for Self-employed Childcare Providers

This capital scheme applies to self-employed providers catering for not more than 20 children at any one time, providing support towards the building, renovation, upgrading or equipping of childcare facilities with a maximum available grant of € 50,790.

2.3.3 Capital Grant Scheme for Private Childcare Providers

This capital scheme applies to commercial providers of more than 20 childcare places and provides support towards building, renovation, upgrading or equipping of childcare facilities with a maximum available grant of € 50,790

2.3.4 Staffing Grant Assistance

This scheme applies to a community based/not-for-profit group or organisation, providing support towards staffing costs for community based childcare in disadvantaged areas.

2.4 Grants towards Quality Improvement

2.4.1 County Childcare Committees

It was considered appropriate to develop local networks through activity, co-ordinated at local level. To this end 33 City/County Childcare Committees (CCCs) were established in each County. The CCCs are allocated funding annually to develop local childcare networks and to implement co-ordinated strategic plans and action plans for childcare provision locally over the period 2000-2006.

As part of the Government’s overall strategic aim of improving co-operation and co-ordination of local development structures at county level, the CCCs are now operating as working groups of the City and County Development Boards. It is intended that this approach will underpin the co-ordinated and strategic approach adopted to develop and deliver a childcare infrastructure and childcare services as an important strand of local development.

2.4.2 National Voluntary Childcare Organisations

Assistance is given to the National Voluntary Childcare Organisations (NVCOs) to promote quality and best practice in childcare delivery.

2.4.3 National Childminders Initiative

This is the first national initiative targeted specifically at childminders and makes a small capital grant available to childminders who attend a Quality Awareness Programme of lectures, organised by the CCCs who also organise networking, information and training opportunities for childminders.

2.4.4 Innovative projects

Funding is available for projects which show an innovative approach to the area of childcare service provision and which may be capable of being replicated in other areas.

2.4.5 Partnerships for Quality Childcare

This initiative, announced in 2004 aimed to encourage the CCCs and NVCOs to collaborate in the development of innovative actions, to improve the quality of childcare provision. The closing date for the first round of funding was 31st January 2005 and the first grants were awarded in late Spring 2005.

Further information on the NCIP and the EOCP can be obtained from the Childcare Division, Office of The Minister for Children at The Old Faculty Building, Shelbourne Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4 or Lo-call telephone number 1890 20 90 30.