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Families hit by forced closure of their creche

PARENTS of 30 children in an area with limited childcare places are distraught following the announcement that their local creche must close.

Eight staff jobs will be lost and some children will face long commutes to work with their parents when the New Beginnings Creche at Turvey Hall apartment complex, Donabate, closes next week.

The creche has been open since 2007 under temporary planning permission, with the understanding that a permanent creche would be built by the developers to cater for the needs of local families.

But the creche owner Fiona O'Reilly was told by Fingal County Council that the facility would have to close since it has been operating without planning permission - as a permanent creche was never built.

She told the Herald: "I came here in 2007 and it was a brand new complex. I was told that a permanent creche was going to be built. But the last two phases haven't been completed.

"The council knocked on the door in May and said I didn't have planning permission to be here. The planning permission was for two years and it began in 2006, but I didn't know this. I've been here for four years and I've never caused any trouble. We're tucked away in a corner of the complex."

Refused

Ms O'Reilly attempted to seek her own planning permission and buy the apartment herself, but permission was refused on grounds such as noise pollution and property depreciation.

"I agreed with the developer that I'd buy the apartment and apply for planning permission, but we got refused because it's not a commercial premises, it's residential.

"Then I got a letter from the developer giving me 60 days notice to move out because he wants to sell it. I just had to phone the parents because we've nowhere to relocate to.

"And I won't be able to pay the staff then there's nothing I can physically do and the plan now is to close on Friday, November 11," she added.

Parent Ita White, who is fighting to save the creche, said children will now be forced to make long commutes every day because nearby creches are full, and parents have had to scout facilities close to their workplaces. She said: "It's putting parents under an awful lot of pressure. Every parent turned up at a meeting about it, and that shows how much it means to them. There's nothing more important than to know that your child is safe and happy. This creche is a real home from home."

Meanwhile, Peter Dwyer, from Shelman Properties, said it is "actively seeking a solution".

He said: "The permanent structure (creche) is part of a new phase of the development, it's in phase three, and phase two isn't in place yet. We've planning permission approved for it but there's no market for the development. We would hope to be able to agree an extension of the premises that the creche is on next year."

Fingal County Council did not wish to comment.


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