Government funding to improve quality of school age childcare in Meath – Minister English

Childcare, Funding, Meath, Navan, North Meath, Trim
Friday, 18th August 2017
Funding of over €76,000 has been made available by Government to help
improve the quality of school age childcare in Meath according to
local Minister for Housing and Urban Development and Fine Gael T.D.
for Meath West Damien English.This is part of a nationwide allocation of €1.2 million from the School Age Childcare Capital Scheme announced by the Minister for
Children and Youth Affairs, Dr. Katherine Zappone.“This funding builds on the recent allocation of €70,000 in funding to
help new and existing services to increase the number of childcare
places that they provide here in Meath. In total Meath is receiving
over €176,000 in new funding this Summer 2017 alone to increase
capacity and improve the quality of childcare services.“Improving the quality of existing school age childcare services was
one of the key actions of the Action Plan on School Age Childcare,
published in March. Examples of how we do this given by Minister
Zappone include the provision of age appropriate play equipment to
stimulate children mentally and physically. The idea of this is to try
to replicate the home environment for children where they need to
avail of childcare afterschool.

Fine Gael is also delivering on its election commitment to help ease
the financial cost of childcare for hard-pressed working families. New
childcare supports coming on stream this September will benefit up to
70,000 children.

“A new universal childcare subsidy, of up to €1,040 per year, is
available for children aged from 6 months up to starting their free
pre-school year (ECCE Scheme) at 36 months.

“In addition to this universal payment, there will also be further
childcare supports for families who need them most. Families on lower
incomes, who qualify by way of a means test, will be eligible for
supports worth up to €7,500 per year for children aged 6 months to 15
years of age.

“The aim is to ensure that parents previously prevented from taking up
jobs, training or education because of the cost of childcare, will now
be able to do so.

“Fine Gael is building a Republic of Opportunity, ensuring that
everyone has a fair chance to reach their full potential. Access to
employment and education is a big part of this. Yet childcare can
often be a barrier, where it should be a bridge to opportunity for
parents, their children and our economy.

“That’s why it’s so important we continue to invest in childcare here
in Meath in order to increase capacity, improve quality and help ease
the cost for parents.

“I strongly encourage all parents to visit – affordablechildcare.ie –
to see the supports available to their family here in Meath” concluded
Minsiter English.

ENDS

€250k extra funding for childcare services in Westmeath – English

Childcare, Education, Wesmeath

19th July 2017

Childcare services in Westmeath are to receive €246,731 in extra funding, Meath West  Fine Gael TD and Minister of State, Damien English has said.

The financial boost comes at a key moment in Ireland’s move to accessible affordable quality childcare.

Minister English said: “I am delighted to confirm that 13 local childcare services in Westmeath will share in funding of more than €250,000 in extra funding.

“The money will be used to provide more new childcare places, maintenance and building work as well as outdoor play areas and is available for immediate draw-down by providers here in Westmeath.

 “I hold the provision of quality, affordable and accessible childcare as a very highest priority, ensuring local children get the very best start in life.

“My Government colleague, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone, said €8.4m  in capital funding has been allocated through the Department of Children and Youth Affairs to 683 pre-school providers nationwide; an increase in €4,4m on the amount announced for this programme in March 2017.

“This funding will benefit children, families and providers under our Early Years programmes, and will contribute to the development of an infrastructure that is ready to meet the radical new approach to subsidising childcare outlined in Budget 2017.

“Since first entering Government, Fine Gael has prioritised hard pressed working families; the people who bore the brunt of the economic recession. A major part of this has been to reduce the cost of childcare for working parents.

“We introduced the free pre-school year, and subsequently extended it to a second year. It is estimated the extended scheme provides an average saving of €4,000 per child.

“We also recently introduced paternity leave for the first time ever. Dads are now entitled to two weeks’ paid leave.

“From September an estimated 70,000 children nationwide will get extra supports. This will really benefit families in Westmeath.

“Families will benefit in two ways. First there is a universal support for all children aged 3 and under then there are supports for those families who need it most.

“The second targeted support is based on income and also for those parents who have had to turn down jobs, training and education because they cannot afford childcare.

“I encourage parents in Westmeath to take the time to study the increased supports which are available and prepare for the autumn, by checking out the new website www.affordablechildcare.ie  or by talking to staff at your local childcare centre.

ENDS

€444k extra funding for childcare services in Meath – English

Childcare, Education, Funding, Meath, Navan, Wesmeath

19th July 2017

€444k extra funding for childcare services in Meath – English

Childcare services in Meath are to receive €444,983 in extra funding, Meath West  Fine Gael TD and Minister of State, Damien English has said.

The financial boost comes at a key moment in Ireland’s move to accessible affordable quality childcare.

Minister English said: “I am delighted to confirm that 35 local childcare services in Meath will share in almost €450,000 in extra funding.

“The money will be used to provide more new childcare places, maintenance and building work as well as outdoor play areas and is available for immediate draw-down by providers here in Meath.

 “I hold the provision of quality, affordable and accessible childcare as a very highest priority, ensuring local children get the very best start in life.

“My Government colleague, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone, said €8.4m  in capital funding has been allocated through the Department of Children and Youth Affairs to 683 pre-school providers nationwide; an increase in €4,4m on the amount announced for this programme in March 2017.

“This funding will benefit children, families and providers under our Early Years programmes, and will contribute to the development of an infrastructure that is ready to meet the radical new approach to subsidising childcare outlined in Budget 2017.

“Since first entering Government, Fine Gael has prioritised hard pressed working families; the people who bore the brunt of the economic recession. A major part of this has been to reduce the cost of childcare for working parents.

“We introduced the free pre-school year, and subsequently extended it to a second year. It is estimated the extended scheme provides an average saving of €4,000 per child.

“We also recently introduced paternity leave for the first time ever. Dads are now entitled to two weeks’ paid leave.

“From September an estimated 70,000 children nationwide will get extra supports. This will really benefit families in Meath.

“Families will benefit in two ways. First there is a universal support for all children aged 3 and under then there are supports for those families who need it most.

“The second targeted support is based on income and also for those parents who have had to turn down jobs, training and education because they cannot afford childcare.

“I encourage parents in Meath to take the time to study the increased supports which are available and prepare for the autumn, by checking out the new website www.affordablechildcare.ie  or by talking to staff at your local childcare centre.

ENDS

English urges Parents to look into Affordable Childcare Supports

Budget 2017, Childcare, Funding, Meath, Navan, North Meath, Wesmeath

11th July 2017

New website affordablechildcare.ie

Damien English, Meath West Fine Gael TD and Minister for Housing and
Urban Renewal is urging Parents in Meath West to look into the new
childcare supports that can help them financially from September.

There have been over 173,000 page visits to an information website –
affordablechildcare.ie – in the past month alone as more and more
parents look into the supports available to them.

Minister English said, “I strongly encourage all parents here in Meath
West to log on to the website and get informed of the supports
available to them.

“Up to 70,000 children will have extra supports negotiated in this
year’s budget come into force at the start of the pre-school year,
with some children will receive childcare benefits up to €7,500. This
will really benefit families in Meath West

“We are enhancing existing targeted childcare supports by as much as
50%. There will be improved access to subsidies for providers – with
the traditional Community Childcare Scheme (CCS) being extended to
both community and private providers.

“Overall total spending on child care programmes this year is €466m –
representing a 79% increase on figures in 2015. Now we must ensure
that families receive the benefit of this.

“Families will benefit in two ways. Firstly, the changes will see a
universal benefit for every child under 3-years old. Universal
subsidies, of up to €1,040 per annum, which will be available for all
children aged between 6 and 36 months in full time childcare.

“The second targeted support is based on income and also for those
parents who have had to turn down jobs, training and education because
they cannot afford childcare.

“As Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Katherine Zappone has
said, this is the first big step, but there is still much work to done
in this area. I am assured that the Minister is focused on quality of
childcare, accessibility and also recognition for the workers who
provide services.

“Since first entering Government, Fine Gael has prioritised hard
pressed working families; the people who bore the brunt of the
economic recession. A major part of this has been to reduce the cost
of childcare for working parents.

“We introduced the free pre-school year, and subsequently extended it
to a second year. It is estimated the extended scheme provides an
average saving of €4,000 per child.

“We also recently introduced paternity leave for the first time ever.
Dads are now entitled to two weeks’ paid leave.

“I will continue working to ensure that parents across Meath West can
avail of high quality and affordable care for their children when they
need it. Fine Gael will continue to ease the financial burden on hard
press working families.”

ENDS

English co-launches Fine Gael’s Early Years Policy

Childcare, Education, Election 2016, Meath, Wesmeath

Monday, 15th February 2016

English co-launches Fine Gael’s Early Years Policy

Local Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation and Meath West Fine
Gael T.D. Damien English co-launched Fine Gael’s Early Years Policy
last week along with Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Dr. James
Reilly.

Speaking at the event Minister English said:

“Ben Franklin once said that an investment in knowledge pays the best
interest.Today Fine Gael is committing to an investment in education,
which I believe will generate a huge return not just to the economy
but the well being and success of our children. As a Minister of State
working in two Departments- Jobs and Education and Skills – I’ve had a
unique opportunity to drive both immediate and long term plans to keep
this recovery going. And I have to say that this recovery isn’t a
given, it isn’t inevitable. It is fragile. And it has not reached
every household yet” Minister English said.

3 Step Plan

“In this election, Fine Gael has a clear proposition – a long term
economic plan with three clear steps that will ensure growth and
stability. Our plan has three steps: Firstly – More and Better Jobs –
creating 200,000 new jobs for 2020. We have already created 135,000.
Secondly – Making Work Pay – As we create more and better jobs, we
must  abolish the USC and provide more childcare options  (as James
has already outlined)
Thirdly, we want to use the resources generated from a strong economy
to invest sensibly and strategically in our public services. If we
have more people in work, more people paying taxes, then we can
recruit 10,000 frontline staff such as teachers, nurses, Gardaí”
explained Minister English.

Junior and Senior Infant Class Size Reduction

“If Fine Gael is elected to government by the Irish people, we will
reduce classes size for junior and senior infants. We will reduce the
pupil teacher ratio to 18:1 by 2021. As part of this investment, we
will fund 832 new teachers for Junior and Senior Infants to make this
a reality. The gains young pupils make from smaller class size well
documented. Our children will get a competitive edge.  EVERY child
will benefit from economic recovery. It has a greater impact on
disadvantaged pupils.  It can influence a student behaviour and
initiative from early on. So you see, this is an investment plan in
the future of our country. In our children’s future. But we can only
do this if we keep the recovery going” concluded Minister English.

Minister English’s Budget 2016 Speech

Action Plan for Jobs, Apprenticeships, Budget 2016, Business, Education, I.T., Jobs, Meath, Research and Innovation, Skills, Speeches, Startups, Wesmeath

On Wednesday night 14th October I addressed the Dáil on Budget 2016:

This budget is designed to support the recovery, hard pressed families and begin future proofing the economy.

This budget is neither the hair shirt budget that some Economists have called for, nor is the silk shirt that the opposition seem to think we can afford, rather it is a prudent budget that will create jobs.

It will remove barriers to work and make work pay, grow the economy and keep the recovery going while reducing the current account deficit.

Business in Ireland has welcomed this budget. Danny McCoy of IBEC said “The budget is right for the economy at this time and signals a new phase of economic development. The crisis is behind us and we are planning ahead. The Government has taken on board the concerns of business, reduced tax and encouraged private investment.”

ISME and the SFA have also welcomed the Budget. The SFA Chairman, A J Noonan stated “This Budget is a strong endorsement by Government of the importance of entrepreneurship and small business in Ireland.”

But this is not just a budget for business and jobs, it is also a budget for our young families.

My constituency of Meath West has one of the highest concentrations of young families in the country, with a youth dependency ratio of over 38%.

You only have to walk around the streets of Navan, Trim or Enfield to see just how young our communities are. Our young population means we can look forward to a more hopeful future, but families cannot live on hope alone.

They need help now and this budget does just that.

Cutting USC, raising child benefit, and extending the free preschool scheme to accommodate all three to five year olds will benefit young families in Meath West and throughout the country.

These families endured a lot of the pain in the recession it is only right that they get some of the gain from the national recovery.

Talk to any parent on the doorsteps in Meath West – education and the future of our children is a major focus. This budget will reduce class sizes; it will recruit an additional 2,260 teachers.

This budget will deliver a better education to our children and will invest in career guidance. This will help our children chose the courses and the skills they need to get a good job and build a better future.

With this budget young school leavers will now have a lot more choice in their career paths.

We are investing an additional €10.5m to effectively double the number of Apprenticeship Schemes available in Ireland.

These 25 new Apprenticeship Schemes will cover areas such as

ICT,

Transport and Logistics,

Financial Services,

Tourism and Hospitality

and the bulk of these will be delivered in 2016.

We need to refocus the third level system to create a more enterprise responsive educational system; we need to provide the skills that students and industry require.

Future proofing the Economy is all about building skills at all levels including our pool of research skills.

Ireland’s future economic growth and prosperity will depend on our continued investment in science, technology and innovation.

This investment is all about developing:

A competitive knowledge based economy and society;

Driving innovation in enterprise;

Building human capital

And maximising the return on R&D investment for economic and social progress.

Investment in research and development is crucial for creating and maintaining high-value jobs.

In addition to the investment announced yesterday, my Department will be allocating an additional €29m specifically for investment in research and innovation to spend before the end of this year.

In addition to this, the overall 2016 capital investment will allow Enterprise Ireland to:

Support 100 Innovative High Potential start Up Companies in 2016 employing 2,000 people.

Issue six Competitive Start Fund calls with a target of financially supporting 85 innovative entrepreneurs.

Fund over 100 in-company R&D projects for companies that are valued in excess €100,000, and

Continue the development of Knowledge Transfer Ireland and the wider national Technology Transfer system to create 30 new spinout companies

For Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), the 2016 allocation will:

Continue to fund the 12 SFI Research Centres, which represents an investment of €355m from the government and €190m from over 200 industry partners.

Train some 3000 researchers for key positions in Industry

Science Foundation Ireland will also undertake a recruitment campaign in partnership with the Irish Universities to attract world-class researchers.

I am pleased that Ireland’s participation in the European Space Agency (ESA) will continue to support a growing number of Irish companies in the rapidly expanding European and Global space markets. In this sector we will see:

A doubling of sales to over €80m

A rise in total employment to over 2,300, and

An expansion in the number of companies actively engaged with ESA to over 75

We are competing in an ever more competitive global environment. I am therefore pleased to report that work is almost complete on a new Strategy for Science, Technology and Innovation.

It is now time for fresh strategic ideas to make research work to maximum effect for the country.

The vision for the new Strategy will be underpinned by 5 key goals:

an internationally competitive research system;

excellent research with relevance and impact for the economy and for society;

a renowned pool of talent in both academia and industry;

a joined-up research eco-system, responsive to emerging opportunities;

and a strong innovative enterprise base, growing employment, sales and exports.

We need to ensure that we have a world leading state-of-the-art research and innovation ecosystem in Ireland.

I am confident that the upcoming Strategy will provide us with the roadmap to deliver on this ambition for Ireland.

To conclude a Leas Ceann Comhairle,

This Budget charts a responsible, prudent path to fiscal stability, economic growth and opportunity.

The Budget marks a new stage in Ireland’s road to full recovery and a more sustainable future.

It will support that recovery and will begin to future proof the economy.

I commend this budget to the House and to the country.

Free preschool for all children from age 3 to primary school and first ever paid paternal leave – English

Budget 2016, Childcare, Education, Funding, Meath, Wesmeath

Meath West Fine Gael TD and Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation, Damien English has said that €85 million in childcare measures announced today in Budget 2016 will reduce costs for hard working parents, as well as improving the quality of the care available to their children.

“The Government has confirmed its commitment to investment in childcare, to ensure that we increase affordability, quality and accessibility for parents and children across Ireland. This is a real and meaningful first step, that will have both social and economic returns far into the future.

“Among the range of measures in Budget 2016, aimed at helping hard working parents are:

  • An extension of the free pre-school year, meaning free pre-school for all children from age 3 to primary school (there will be three windows for parents to enrol their children in the scheme – September, January and April)
    · Over €15m will be used to make pre-school more accessible for children who special needs
  • Two weeks of new paid paternal leave, which will kick in for fathers from next September
    · A €5 increase in child benefit, to €140 per child per month
  • An extension of the Community Childcare Subvention Programme, which offers low income parents, reduced rates.5,000 extra childcare places through private and community providers this year and 8,000 next year
    · A €3 million capital fund will support childcare providers to develop after-school services
    · There will also be a number of measures to improve the quality of childcare provision, including an audit of all childcare, increased inspections and investment in training for childcare workers.

“In addition to these childcare measures families will also benefit from a reduction in class sizes in primary school to 27 pupils to 1 teacher (the lowest level they have ever been), 2260 additional primary and post-primary teachers in 2016 and an extension of free GP care to all children under 12.

€123,866 granted to early years services in Co. Meath

Athboy, Childcare

“Athboy Community Childcare Centre Ltd.  to receive over €40,000 for vital roof works”

childcare_blocks
I was delighted to learn this evening Wednesday, 29th July 2015 from my colleague Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Dr. James Reilly T.D. that Co. Meath will receive €123,866 in grant funding for early years childcare services.

This funding will be distributed to childcare services, in support of this vital sector in Co. Meath.  This capital programme demonstrates the Government’s commitment to the ongoing development of the childcare sector.

The investment is being directed towards making the greatest impact by addressing the most urgent works and supporting the quality of services making the greatest impact for disadvantaged children and communities here in Co. Meath.
Nationally grant funding was made available specifically for community/not for profit childcare services while additional money was made available to both private and community/not for profit childcare facilities to access grants for quality improvement measures, specifically in the area of upgrading IT facilities. In total €123,866 will go to 143 local services in Co. Meath.

The largest grant in Co. Meath is to Athboy Community Childcare Centre Ltd. which receives €42,587 for insulation and refurbishment of their roof.

This news follows last week’s proposals for strategic investment in childcare which aims to improve affordability, quality and accessibility for parents and children across Ireland.