Minister Lenihan opens Angel Faces Crèche, Glen Abhainn, Enfield, Co. Meath
Mr. Brian Lenihan, T.D., Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children, today (16th September) opened Angel Faces Crèche, Glen Abhainn, Enfield, Co. Meath
The Minister referred to the changing demand for childcare over the past number of years with the vast improvements in Ireland’s economic infrastructure. “We know the key role that childcare plays in enabling parents to engage in employment, education and training, thus helping to break the cycle of disadvantage. It has also been shown to be very beneficial for children as it helps to promote their social, psychological and educational development”, said the Minister.
The Minister stressed that one of the Government’s key priorities under the current National Development Plan was to the create quality, affordable childcare. To deliver on this priority, the Government and the European Union are together funding the Equal Opportunities Childcare Programme. The total funding available under the Programme, over the lifetime of the National Development Plan, has increased twice during the course of last year and is now just under € 500 million to cover the period to from 2000 to 2007.
An additional €90 million has been made available for childcare capital assistance in the context of Budget 2005. Of the € 90 million in additional capital, € 50 million will be available during the life of the present Childcare Programme and the remainder will come in the next phase. It is estimated that throughout Ireland the funding allocated to date will, when fully drawn down, create some 39,000 new full time and part time places, with over 24,600 of these new places already achieved by the end of 2004.
Angel Faces Crèche Glen Abhainn has been approved € 35,000 in Capital Grant Assistance under the EOCP towards the cost of equipping the new purpose-built childcare facility which will provide 65 full time childcare places.
The Minister paid tribute to the commitment of those involved in developing the service. “Angel Faces Crèche has as its aim to provide a person centred childcare facility that is accessible, affordable and meets the need of the local community here in Enfield and surrounding areas”, said the Minister
The Minister added that “the new facility will help ensure that children can develop emotionally, socially, intellectually and physically through play.”