Sunday 20 October 2019

Childcare 'crisis' on the peninsula

Senator Lorraine Clifford-Lee speaking at the meeting
Senator Lorraine Clifford-Lee speaking at the meeting

Ken Phelan

A public meeting on the lack of childcare facilities in Donabate was held by a local senator last week, who said the issue was causing 'untold stress' to local parents.

The meeting, held in Donabate Portrane Community & Leisure Centre on September 5, was hosted by Senator Lorraine Clifford-Lee and her Fianna Fáil colleague, Cllr Adrian Henchy who is a local councillor for the area.

The meeting offered parents a forum to voice their concerns, and the chance for them to be advised on how they could further the issue.

Senator Lorraine Clifford-Lee said of the emerging crisis in childchare provision on the peninsula: 'There's a severe lack of places for children in childcare facilities in Donabate at the moment. It's something that's faced by families in Donabate, I'm hearing about it all the time.

''There's a local demand for it and there are local providers that want to provide childcare services, but there aren't suitable buildings. A lot of the new developments in recent years required builders to build creche facilities in conjunction with the housing, but they've been trying to get out of that.'

She said: 'Parents are just at their wits' end in Donabate trying to get places for their children, especially very young children, and a lot of parents are buying houses in the area because the area is being sold as there's going to be a creche on-site, and that's not actually transpiring.'

Senator Clifford-Lee said hard-pressed parents were being forced to avail of childcare facilities in Swords which was adding extra time and inconvenience to their daily commute.

The senator said the meeting would allow parents to make submissions on the issue, and that it would 'demonstrate' to Fingal County Council and An Bord Pleanala the 'severe shortage' of childcare provision in the area.

She said: 'People are buying houses in Donabate, they're very nice houses, they're very happy to live in Donabate and suddenly they find the promised creche is never going to be built.

'If facilities were provided, there are local providers that are ready, willing and able to provide that service and families would readily take up the service.

'Each one of the childcare facilities wants to expand and they've got hundreds of people on waiting lists. It's a very very difficult situation for young families.'

Fingal Independent