Tusla has announced its intention to close four Hyde and Seek creches in Dublin.
Tusla announced the decision today and revealed that the creches will close on December 31. Hyde and Seek as 21 days to appeal the decision.
Tusla confirmed that "four Dublin based services have been notified of Tusla’s intention to proceed with removal from the register of early years’ services following the conclusion of an enforcement process."
They added: "The provider has 21 days to appeal this decision."
The four creches in question are:
Hyde and Seek were at the centre of an RTÉ investigation earlier this year which raised concerns about the standards of care at the company.
Responding, a spokesperson for Hyde and Seek said:
"We do not accept the outcome of the regulatory process. Since the airing of the RTÉ programme we have continued to work to ensure we adhere to the highest standards.
"We are very confident in the service provided at all four of our creches and will appeal this decision."
The Child and Family Agency said in a statement that "the decision to remove a service from the register comes at the end of an enforcement process, during which a provider is afforded fair procedures.
"This decision is not taken lightly, and is a last resort which is used when as regulator Tusla cannot stand over the continued operation of a service."
The statement added: "Tusla acknowledges that parents will find themselves in the difficult position of finding alternative childcare providers in these areas, and has notified the Department of Children and Youth Affairs of our concerns, who are working with the local City/County Childcare Committees to make support available to parents.
"Tusla will expedite any applications for registration of new childcare providers in this area, or any applications for a Change in Circumstances (eg change of owner) in this area. Tusla also acknowledges the impact on staff at these services."
The agency added that any parents who are concerned about the "status of, or care being provided at their early years’ service" can:
Brian Lee, Director of Quality Assurance at Tusla, said: "As the regulator in this sector, Tusla’s role is to monitor the safety and quality of care and support of children in early years’ provision to ensure compliance with regulations.
"Where there are consistent and serious breaches, Tusla will take action up to and including prosecution and removal from the register of early years’ services."
Tusla announced the closures as they revealed a commitment to greater communication in the early years sector.
This includes consulting with parents as part of the regulatory process in 2020 and asking providers to display their certificate of registration.
Mr Lee said: "This enhanced public communication comes as a result of feedback from parents.
"While Tusla cannot contact parents of children in individual crèches directly, we can ensure that this information is readily and publically available to assist parents in making informed decisions."