A childcare worker who tested positive for Covid-19 had recently returned from a trip abroad, it is understood.
Some parents have expressed concern as the crèche where the person works has not closed its doors after the confirmed case of coronavirus. Parents whose children attend the facility on Dublin's northside received a message alerting them to the fact that a childcare worker had contracted the virus.
The memo said the member of staff who attended work for one day on July 13 had tested positive for Covid. The Irish Independent understands the worker concerned had travelled abroad in recent weeks.
Childcare bodies and trade unions said the confirmed case was a snapshot of the huge challenges facing the sector in the weeks and months ahead.
The memo, sent last weekend, said any parents of those children who had been in contact with the childcare worker had been contacted.
Tests have also been arranged for the "small number" of staff members who were also in contact with the worker, the memo added.
It said that they wanted to assure parents that all protocols from the HSE and Tusla had been followed.
"Most importantly, all parents whose children have been in contact with the asymptomatic educarer (crèche worker) have been phoned personally and appropriate testing has been arranged," it said.
"Likewise, the small number of staff members who were in directed contact with the educarer in question are being tested and while awaiting results will not be in attendance at crèche."
However, parents were surprised to discover the facility had remained open in the wake of the Covid-19 case. "It's really worrying for parents," one said. "My daughter was due to go back on Monday but I held off after I heard about this case. Now this makes me doubt sending her at all.
"At the same time, it's increasingly difficult to manage working from home with her and my other child there the whole time. It's a really difficult situation."
A crèche manager said they could not comment on the coronavirus case in the branch when contacted by the Irish Independent. When head office was contacted, a staff member confirmed a request for comment had been received.
Both the HSE and Tusla said they do not comment on individual cases.
Siptu head of organising Darragh O'Connor said it underlined how great the challenges now facing the entire childcare sector were.
"Some 79pc of early-years childcare [operations] do not have a sick pay scheme. Some 29pc of workers, who returned to duties in July after the pandemic lockdown, have suffered a pay cut and there is a staff turnover rate of 40pc," he said.
"These are very big challenges for the sector going forward."
Pressure on the childcare sector will only increase over the coming weeks and months.
Early Childhood Ireland and the National Parents Council were unavailable for comment on the situation at the Dublin crèche.
However, both are understood to be urgently seeking information on the matter.
Speaking in the Dáíl last night, Minister for Children Roderic O'Gorman said all necessary actions are being taken.
He said both the HSE and Tusla's Early Years Inspectorate were involved on the matter and that their primary concern is to prevent the spread of the virus.
He added that he wanted to assure people that all appropriate actions have been taken.
Sinn Féin childcare spokesperson Kathleen Funchion said: "The important thing [with the Dublin crèche] is that I hope everyone involved is safe and well.
"I think the problem posed by Covid-19 for the childcare sector has been magnified by years of low pay and chronic under-funding."
According to HSE guidelines, if there is a confirmed case of Covid in a childcare setting, the facility will be contacted by public health specialists to identify anyone who has been in contact with the person concerned during the period the person was infectious.
Public health will also advise about any actions or precautions that should be taken.
An assessment of each childcare setting will also be undertaken by public health staff.
A stark insight into poor infection control in many Covid-hit nursing homes, where the bedroom doors of infected residents were left open and staff suggested a "neighbour might do the laundry", has been revealed in a new report.