A Clara creche has been closed within days of securing €36,000 in funding.
The HSE took the decision to close Clara Tots 2 Teens last Friday in the week it also secured a capital funding grant for building works.
News of the grant allocation was welcomed by local TD’s Barry Cowen and Marcella Corcoran-Kennedy, however, with the impending closure revelation Fianna Fail Deputy Cowen has sought an urgent meeting with the HSE and the Department of Children in relation to the issue.
“This is very upsetting news,” explained Deputy Cowen. “There is a strong sense in the community that this busy childcare facility was abandoned by the State for too long and struggled to get the support it needed to stay open.”
He accused the Department of Children of taking six months to process grants for childcare facilities that are in desperate need of repairs and upgrades. “I have been pushing the application from Clara Tots 2 Teens and met with the committee running the facility in the past ten days. The length of time it has taken for the State to offer any support has been a great source of frustration.”
Deputy Cowen expressed extreme disappointment with the relevant State authorities whom he said failed to provide any advice or support to Clara Tots 2 Teens over recent weeks.
“Why wasn’t the HSE working with the facility to address its problems before slapping a closure order on it last Friday?”
He alleged that the problems experienced by Clara Tots 2 Teens are not unique.
“I have called on the Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald to seriously consider offering a wider level of support to childcare facilities. Many are run by volunteers who are trying to meet increasing demands on workers as a result of the economic downturn. They are seriously worried that they will not be able to maintain their level of service without extra support from the State.”
Meanwhile funding for Pullough Community Pre-School of €48,918 and Killavilla Pre-School of €170 was welcomed by Deputies Cowen and Corcoran-Kennedy.