Former creche operators owe thousands over extension grants
THE State is owed tens of thousands of euro by former creche and pre-school owners who closed down their businesses after receiving substantial grants to extend their homes.
Some 22 childcare operators were given a combined €555,000 to start or expand their businesses.
But the scheme proved disastrous, with almost two-thirds of the childcare facilities subsequently closing down.
In total, 16 of the businesses ceased trading -- in many cases after the building of extensions on to family homes, the Irish Independent has learned.
These operators owed the State a combined €315,482.
However, only six of the 16 paid back grants leaving 10 former creche operators still liable for €264,469.
Authorities admit there is little chance of getting the cash back.
The cash was handed out as part of an EU and Exchequer-funded scheme between 2000 and 2007 to increase the number of places available in daycare.
The scheme came at a time of huge public pressure to expand childcare facilities for children under six years of age but some areas ended up with an over-supply.
It was managed by Pobal, the non-profit organisation that supports local agencies and communities on behalf of the Government.