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Wednesday 26 July 2017

'Parents feel like they’ve been thrown to the wolves' - anger over sudden closure of crèche

Aideen McDonald, Cassie Joyce, Annette Nugent Gillian Loyd Corbett, Juliana Adelman, Erin O'Mahony and Deirdre Farrell who are angry over the impending closure of the nest creche and montessori at Drumcondra in North Dublin (Picture: Mark Condren)
Aideen McDonald, Cassie Joyce, Annette Nugent Gillian Loyd Corbett, Juliana Adelman, Erin O'Mahony and Deirdre Farrell who are angry over the impending closure of the nest creche and montessori at Drumcondra in North Dublin (Picture: Mark Condren)

Alan O'Keeffe

Parents are angry and upset that a large Dublin crèche is to shutdown with just three weeks notice.

Up to 100 children will no longer be able to attend The Nest Crèche and Montessori school on Drumcondra Road because the landlord is selling the property to the Lidl supermarket group.

“Three weeks is ridiculously short notice  to try and find after-school childcare for my two boys,” said Juliana Adelman (39).

“Parents feel like they’ve been thrown to the wolves.

“Everyone will have to go begging for places in other creches. There will be so many children looking for limited places elsewhere. It’s a nightmare,” said the mother, a lecturer at Dublin City University."

 Colm Bowers,  whose  family-run childcare company has been renting the crèche premises for several years, sent an email to parents on Thursday informing them of his “absolute regret” that the crèche will closedown on June 2.

“This situation has developed very rapidly and, despite the planning application still not having been granted, the owners are selling the premises to Lidl and we have been ordered to vacate the premises by the end of the month.,” he stated.

“We are closing temporarily while I try to find a new location for us,” he said.

He informed parents he contacted Tusla and the Dublin City Childcare Committee about the possibility of spaces  with  other childcare providers in the area.

He stated he was seeking information about regulations regarding a search for other premises that could be let short-term.

“I’m very sorry about this situation,” he stated.

The crèche building adjoins the Atlas Tyres and Auto business. Both enterprises have been paying rent to the same company,  which is foreign-owned.

A spokesman for Atlas said the Lidl construction plans cover both properties.

“We expect to remain in business at this site for a considerable time. We’re not closing any time soon,” he said.

In  2014,  the two adjoining properties were sold after being placed on the market on the instructions of receiver Michael Hogan. The asking price for the combined site was €1.5m.

Potential buyers  were informed in 2014 that planning permission had been granted to demolish the garage premises and crèche with permission for the construction of a foodstore, restaurant, and offices.

Local Fine Gael T.D. Noel Rock said the speed of the closure was “disgraceful.”

He said Lidl had not yet been granted permission for the development.

Deputy Rock said: “This news is both shocking and devastating for young, local families who are currently using this much needed facility for their children. Drumcondra already has a low number of pre-school childcare facilities.

“With the crèche expected to close in three weeks’ time, families are left with a short amount of time to try and find an alternative arrangement with many other local facilities at capacity.”

He called for the families to be given more time to make alternative arrangements.

Lidl Ireland's Property Director Alan Barry said they are concerned about the closure.

"Lidl does not own the property and has had absolutely no communication with the crèche or any of its clients. Lidl has entered into a contract to acquire the site and in the event that planning permission is secured, Lidl intends to develop a store in 2019," he said.

"Any suggestion that Lidl has issued or has been in any way involved in the closure of the crèche at such short notice is completely inaccurate and damaging to our reputation," he added.

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