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22nd October 2020 | Press Releases

Oireachtas briefing: Green Ministers announce reports on Direct Provision and childcare costs, farmer training videos and funding for TG4

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The Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Roderic O’Gorman TD, together with the Minister for Justice, Helen McEntee TD, have published the report by the Advisory Group on the Provision of Supports, including Accommodation, to Persons in the International Protection Process.

Welcoming publication of the report, Minister O’Gorman said, “The Government agrees with the Advisory Group’s conclusion that the current system of Direct Provision is not fit for purpose and must be replaced. We have already begun work on the White Paper that will set out a new model for accommodating applicants for international protection, and this will be published by the end of 2020.

“Change will take time and the process of moving from the current system will be complex. However, it is important that we immediately begin to create a more humane system, rooted in human rights.”

Minister O’Gorman also launched the Independent Review of the Cost of Providing Quality Early Learning and Childcare in Ireland. The Review, undertaken by Crowe in association with Apteligen in 2018, is part of a wider commitment by the Minister to establish an evidence base for the development and support of high-quality, accessible, and affordable early learning and childcare provision in Ireland.

“The findings from this Review provide us with a rich and detailed understanding of the childcare market and a sound analytical underpinning to inform future funding decisions”, Minister O’Gorman said. “An output of the Review was the development of a cost calculator. This is a powerful tool that will assist my Department to accurately estimate the impacts of potential future policy changes on the cost of delivering a service … In the future, it will form a key input into the setting of future funding rates and will be considered by the Expert Group convened by my Department to develop a new funding model for the sector.”

The Minister of State for Land Use and Biodiversity at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Senator Pippa Hackett launched the first in a series of farmer training videos developed by the Hen Harrier Project and funded by her Department.

Announcing that the first of the videos to be made available deals with Grazing Infrastructure, the Minister complemented their quality, ‘‘These are stunning films and I look forward to a new one being made available every week. They make learning a pleasure, reminding us of just how beautiful our land is, while at the same time teaching us how best to protect it. This first one advises farmers on how best to invest in fencing, gates and the provision of drinking water, while also giving them the tools to direct grazing where and when it is needed.’’

“This series of videos is a wonderful example of the work of locally led schemes which I am delighted to support through our Rural Development Programme. Indeed, the announcement last week of a new allocation in the budget of funding for community nature-based projects is further evidence of my Department’s commitment to this approach and I look forward to seeing their outputs too.’’

The Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin TD, has announced a range of funding supports, amounting to approximately €900,000, to assist local authorities in developing community-led commemorative initiatives in remembrance of the significant events that occurred in Cork and throughout the country in 1920.

“A century ago, Ireland was in the midst of the Struggle for Independence and our local authorities have played a leading role in supporting the national conversation about this difficult period in our history.”, Minister Martin said. “I plan to continue this collaborative approach between Government, Local Government and local communities, which provides a supportive structure to ensure that the complex and sensitive events that occurred during the Struggle for Independence are remembered in an authentic, respectful, measured and inclusive manner.”

Minister Catherine Martin also announced that TG4 will be allocated an additional €1.9 million in 2020, in addition to the €3.5m in additional funding that was secured for TG4 in Budget 2021 to support the implementation of their Strategy.

“TG4 has done a terrific job in responding to the challenges posed by Covid-19,” Minister Martin said, “putting in place programming such as Cúla4 ar Scoil for younger audiences and providing important news and information to keep the public safe and well-informed. I’m delighted to be able to support them in this important work.”