Minister Frances Fitzgerald T.D. Official Opening of Edenmore Early Education Centre
27 April 2012
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am delighted to be here with you in Edenmore today to officially open your new community childcare centre. I would like to thank the Chairperson of the Board of Management and the committee for their kind invitation.
I am aware of the long history of childcare provision here in Edenmore, which started away back in 1975, when the Sisters of the Poor Servants of the Mother of God set up this childcare facility in response to a local need at that time. The service evolved over the following years with the establishment of a Board of Management to replace the Sisters and it is through the efforts and commitment of the many individuals who served on the Board that we are here today to open this new facility.
I would like to compliment the Sisters for their vision and foresight in establishing these childcare facilities all those years ago, and today they deserve our recognition for laying the foundations of this quality childcare service that we are here to celebrate. I understand also that the Sisters have continued to contribute to the ongoing development of this service by continuing to serve on the Board of Management.
This childcare service is now a very important resource for young families in the Edenmore and Raheny areas. One of the most important functions of any community is to provide for the needs of its children and to give them a good start in life. We must recognise all those who have given their time and expertise in order that this service could continue to develop and grow and deliver quality and specialised childcare services in this part of North Dublin.
The importance of access to quality early childhood care and pre-school education may not have been as widely recognised back in 1975, when this service was first established, as it is today. We have learned much in recent years about what needs to be done in order to prepare our children for their future and about the positive and long term impact of quality childcare provision on the well being of society generally.
Access to quality and affordable childcare has a major impact on the lives of children, and particularly those children who may be socially or economically disadvantaged. The opportunity to avail of quality pre-school education ensures that these children start primary school on a more equal footing with children from more advantaged backgrounds. Access to quality and affordable childcare also plays a key role in enabling parents to avail of work opportunities or to return to education or participate in training programmes.
The development of childcare in Ireland owes much to the commitment by a large number of people at local level. Childcare providers, in both the community and the commercial sector, have demonstrated their commitment to providing quality services by constantly striving to improve the quality of care that they provide. This facility is a wonderful example of what can be achieved when the local community comes together to develop and operate services which are designed to meet the specific needs of their own community.
This service, which was established initially to provide accessible and affordable childcare to a specific group within the local community, has since then, adapted additional strategies to meet the more specialised needs of children in the wider community. This integrated service, which maintains strong links with the HSE, delivers appropriate individual programmes in collaboration with HSE professionals. I would like to compliment the management and staff for their commitment to these children and for their flexibility and willingness to adapt to meet this challenge.
I would like, finally, to thank the Board of Management, and staff, on behalf of the parents and children for their ongoing efforts in delivering this high quality childcare service. I am looking forward to having the opportunity of experiencing the range of services provided here in the excellent facility later on today. I would like to congratulate everyone associated with today’s event and thank you all for your warm welcome and kind attention.