Prior to 2000, there was very limited capacity in the early childhood care and education sector. However, over the decade 2000 to 2010, the State, initially in partnership with the EU, invested €425 million capital funding to create childcare places throughout Ireland.
From the years 2006-2013 the National Childcare Investment Programme (NCIP) was the states vehicle for investment in the sector. The NCIP succeeded and built further on the Equal Opportunities Childcare Programme (EOCP) 2000-2006. The programme aimed to provide a proactive response to the development of quality childcare supports and services, which will be planned for and developed locally and centered on the needs of the child and the family. Over the period 2000-2010 over 65,000 places were created in early childhood centers.