Nearly 45,000 additional pre-school places needed next year

22,500 extra spaces will be needed in September, and a further 22,000 in January

Nearly 45,000 additional pre-school places needed next year

Photocall file photo

A group representing childcare providers says parents are struggling to find pre-school places for their children.

Early Childhood Ireland, says there aren't enough crèche and montessori places to meet the demand for the government's second free pre-school year.

60,000 additional children became eligible for the scheme in last year's budget.

The Irish Examiner reports that 22,500 extra spaces will be needed in September, with a further 22,000 in January.

CEO of Early Childhood Ireland, Teresa Heeney, says childcare providers are facing capacity problems all year round:

"One of the other things announced in the budget was this concept of a rolling enrolment so that when a child turns three he or she can begin to take up their entitlement to their free preschool year in advance of going to school.

“But for many of our members the idea of rolling enrolment simply doesn't work. They can't hold a place vacant from September or January for a child that's going to be eligable in April."