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Wednesday 21 August 2019

Irish footballer not fazed by Hyde and Seek creche controversy as he launches childcare service with a difference


Eoin Doyle and Danny Ventre have started a new business venture
Eoin Doyle and Danny Ventre have started a new business venture

Micheal O Scanaill

Irish footballer Eoin Doyle is not dismayed following the recent Hyde and Seek creche scandal as he tries to safeguard his financial future with a childcare business.

Doyle, who currently plies his trade at Bradford City in England's League Two, said that he is not worried about how his new business will be received following an RTE Prime Time programme that looked into standards of care in a number of creches.

According to the father of three, it will improve the quality of childcare in Ireland and as a parent that is his main concern.

"The night we launched, that got aired on RTÉ," he said.

"We're more worried that there are childcare facilities out there that will behave like they did. It's certainly something we won't be doing.

"There's definitely a worry, but it's going to keep all the childcare facilities in the country on their toes now. I don't think TUSLA will allow them to run as they were without going through all of the right procedures.

"We've gone through all the processes with TUSLA and we will be registered in time for the opening in three weeks. It was a horrible thing that happened but going forward it's going to be a positive for the industry."

Doyle's new business, Lily's Before and After School Childcare, will be a before-and-after-school childcare service, where primary school kids get dropped in the morning, are fed breakfast, dropped to and collected from school and offered activities until 6.30pm.

Doyle added that the service will put parents at ease, aided by their ability to interact throughout the day using an app.

Parents will receive notifications when their children are dropped to or collected from the childcare facility or school. They also get regular updates throughout the day and can even message staff and receive a reply within minutes.

"Regarding our facility, we've been told we're the first childcare in Ireland to have the app," he said.

"The parents will know exactly what's going on in the facility throughout the day and whenever they want they can actually message the staff. Staff will reply in the matter of a few minutes, so it's going to be very accessible for the parents from outside of the facility.

"Basically, we support working parents. We're very focused on the health and wellbeing of kids so we'll definitely be able to put parents at ease."

The 31-year-old came up with the idea along with Danny Ventre, a former Sligo Rovers teammate, as a means to ensure his financial security into the future having seen first-hand how lack of financial planning can cause problems for lower league players when they retire.

Doyle, who played in the Championship for Cardiff, maintains he still has a few years of football to look forward to.

"I still think I have a few years left in my legs," he said, "but I don't want to be leaving it too late to secure my future. I have a wife and three kids, so there's plenty of mouths to feed and this is a way that I can do that and I'm really looking forward to it.

"I've seen loads of footballers get to the later stages of their career and struggle and struggle bad. I'm trying to make sure I'm not one of them.

"You look around the dressing room and sometimes you can see the lads a mile away that might struggle in a few years. Lads think that the money is always going to be there but it's not the case."

As a father of three young boys: Danny (5), Joey (2) and Luca (3 months), Doyle said that a childcare center, with plenty of activities, was a natural business idea.

Doyle and Ventre, along with his cousin, David Webster who currently plays for St Pat's, will offer training for the kids while there will also be a yoga teacher, hip hop dancers, and arts and crafts in the facility.

"I feel passionately about Lily's as well, in the sense that I have three active young boys and they're as boisterous as they come and at the facility, we're going to have all of the activities for them, so it's close to home," he said.

"I reckon they'll have a chance at being footballers. I get home from training every day and the minute I get in the door my eldest one is like 'right Daddy, out the back'. They're obsessed with it."

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