Families affected by the sudden closure of Cara Íosa Childcare in Gortinty, Annaduff have had their children accommodated in other creches according to Leitrim County Childcare Committee.
Cara Íosa Childcare closed on Good Friday, April 19. The facility had been catering for 32 children - 16 in the 0 to 3 age group and a further 16 in the pre-school group.
Tusla confirmed that the provider was removed from the Register of Early Years Services due to a number of non-compliances that were outstanding following an inspection in September last year.
Cllr Des Guckian described the sudden closure as: “a disaster for young children, for their parents and for the carers.
“Annaduff is a very rural area and the creche was a vital facility for hard-working parents.”
Cllr Guckian said parents and staff were “stunned” by the news adding “neither the staff, nor the parents, nor (the) Leitrim County Childcare Committee were informed that there was any danger of imminent closure”.
He said “there should have been a protocol in place to allow Tusla to inform the Leitrim County Childcare Committee that there was a danger of closure” and said he has written a letter to Minister Katherine Zappone and had been in contact with Independent TD, Michael Fitzmaurice, in order to highlight his concerns and the concerns of local families about the process and what had happened.
Tommy Lavelle, Manager of Leitrim County Childcare Committee confirmed they had “become aware a closure notice would be issued on April 16.”
“Our role was to liaise with parents directly as individuals and groups to try and find alternative places as required,” he explained.
He confirmed that all families who sought to be catered for with alternative providers “have now been catered for.”
“In terms of the future at the meeting of parents last Thursday night there seems to be an appetite to set up a facility under a community-based model.
“Key to that is having commitment from the community to take on the work to establish a community group to run this. The first step is then to source a viable centre to operate out of and to begin the process of registering this premises with Tusla,” he said.
Mr Lavelle said that Leitrim County Childcare Committee would be there to support the community if they pursued this plan.
“If the community is interested they are welcome to contact me directly on this,” he said.
He said he could not comment on the situation faced by former staff at Cara Íosa noting this “is a matter between the owner of the creche and the staff.”