One of only two community crèches in Dublin’s south inner city is to close in mid-August leaving up to 50 families having to find alternative childcare for the new school year, writes Michael Clifford.
The St Mary’s Early Years Education and Care service on City Quay is to close on August 18 to facilitate remedial works in the building where it is housed. The works are expected to be extensive and it is not yet known when St Mary’s might reopen there.
The facility is run by the educational group, An Cosan, which is attempting to find an alternative site for the facility.
Space is at a premium in the south inner city, which is a hi-tech hub since the arrival of Google and other major US companies in the economically disadvantaged area some years ago.
The chief executive of An Cosan, Maura McMahon, says the group is hopeful of finding alternative accommodation as soon as possible.
“We’re looking for alternative space while the building works are being done,” she says. “We recognise that there is a premium on space in the docks area but we are hopeful of getting somewhere.”
The building is owned by the Catholic Church parish and leased through St Vincent de Paul to An Cosan.
A statement from the Dublin archdiocese confirmed the building needs repairs.
“The building belongs to City Quay parish and due to its age is in poor condition with a number of serious building defects including dampness and leaking in many rooms. Regrettably, the parish was not in a position to extend the lease. With advice from the diocese, a thorough building inspection report will now be undertaken to establish the extent of the works required.”
St Mary’s has 27 children attending for the summer months and 34 parents have already registered children for the academic year to come.
At full capacity, at which the facility was expecting to operate, it has 56 places.
The crèche is staffed by 10 childcare workers who have all been informed they are to be laid off temporarily, with an indefinite restart date, if any.
“Everybody has just four weeks to find somewhere else for their children,” one of the staff told the Irish Examiner.
“They have nowhere else to go and a lot of our parents would be on community or employment schemes so it’s going to be very tough for them.”
The only other community early learning centre in the area is in St Andrew’s Resource Centre on Pearse St.
This story first appeared in the Irish Examiner