Answers Sought Over Early Years Centres Closures

The parents of children affected by the closure of five community childcare centres in West Clare are calling for questions to be answered on how the situation was allowed to happen.

53 jobs have been lost as result of the closures of the Early Years Centres in Kilrush, Kilkee, Lissycasey, Kilmihil and Kildysart, while hundreds of families were left without childcare services this morning.


Hundreds of families in West Clare have been left without childcare facilities this morning following a decision by West Clare Early Years Services to liquidate the company.

Staff members were informed by text on Saturday afternoon that they would have no work to go to on Monday morning while parents were told late on Saturday night, also by text, that the facility was no longer available to them.

Michael Coughlan from Lisseycasey has had to stay home from work today to look after his four year old son.

Catherine Pinder is also affected by the closure. One of her children was attending montessori, while the other was availing of pre-school services.

She says questions on how this was allowed to happen need to be answered.

An emergency meeting is taking place at Kilrush Community Centre tonight from 7.30, including concerned parents, staff, public representatives and Pobal.

Co-Ordinator of the West Clare Family Resource Centre, Mary O'Donoghue says the closure is a huge blow to many families. 

Meanwhile, Clare's election candidates have been reacting to news of the closure.

The Department of Children and Youth Affairs says it has been aware of the difficulties within the West Clare Early Years services company and together with Pobal, has been working to try to get the company onto a sustainable footing.

In a statement, The Department says it understood that an angreement had been reached which would have provided for an action plan to secure the company's future but that the decision to liquidate the company came as a surprise.

Outgoing Fine Gael TD Pat Breen says the main concern of the Department is the welfare and safety of the children and to minimise any disruption of their childcare arrangements.