Childcare crisis: Waiting lists up to 2024 in several counties

Creches in only seven out of 26 countries said they would have space this year
Jack Quann
Jack Quann

10.15 8 Jun 2022

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Childcare crisis: Waiting list...

Childcare crisis: Waiting lists up to 2024 in several counties

Jack Quann
Jack Quann

10.15 8 Jun 2022

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Some parents looking for childcare are being told there is no availability until 2024.

It comes on the back of Newstalk research, which found the average monthly cost of childcare in Dublin has jumped 20% in the past four years.

The capital is home to the most expensive creche rates, followed by Wicklow and Cork.


Meanwhile dates of 2024 are being suggested in four counties for people looking for childcare places.

They are in Dublin, Meath, Sligo and Wexford.

Three creches in each county were contacted and asked about availability.

Only seven out of 26 countries said they would have a space this year, or will be reviewing their waiting lists.

January 2023 was coming up as the average for when a childcare provider would have some space - with others saying around the end of the summer into September.

One provider in Mayo had 180 names on a list, while one in Leitrim had 155 names on a waitlist.

A creche in Offaly has an 18-month waiting list, while in Donegal there are 73 names on a list.

The more promising waiting lists are in Longford - with 12 names - and 19 in Westmeath.

Owner of Missus Tatty's Nursery near Blanchardstown in Dublin, Rachael Prouse, says staff shortages in the sector are having knock-on effects.

The ratio for babies is 1:3.

She told Josh Crosbie for The Pat Kenny Show: "Our quickest one to fill up is our pre-school - we open our registration at the beginning of January when we re-open after Christmas.

"This year by the middle of February we were full, we had no more spaces.

"The only way that we have availability coming in for people on the waiting list, especially with pre-school, is if people pull out or if people move home".

She says variables mean even those on a waiting list may not be next in.

"You think 'I'm on a waiting list, I'm number one so I'll be the next one in'.

"But a lot of it depends on age, it depends on the time that this space is available for them.

"Then it's up to staff as well - if we're over ratio you need to get another member of staff, and that hasn't been an easy thing at all".

Rachael says she has one staff member who specifically manages the waiting list.

'Not sure what we're going to do'

Luka, who moved to Dublin from London, has a five-month-old baby boy.

She started looking for a place when she was just 12-weeks pregnant.

"We want to send him to creche full-time, so me and my husband can both work full-time.

"I started ringing around when I was 12-weeks pregnant, because I heard that it was mentally hard.

"We live in Dublin 6 - we are currently on 11 waiting lists, we've managed to secure one place for August next year.

"But I need it for January."

She says other people she knows are in the same position.

"So not sure what we're going to do: the options are I take longer off work, we find a childminder, we take him to one creche and have to pull him out.

"I've definitely got lots of friends who are in similar positions, [they] haven't found anything.

"And a couple of friends who've had to leave work because they can't find any - it's not because of cost, it's because of availability".

Childcare crisis: Waiting lists up to 2024 in several counties

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How do counties compare?

Carlow – No availability until January 2023 earliest, other September

Cavan - No availability until January 2023 earliest, other June

*Clare – No availability until September 2022, others April/June 2023

Cork - No availability until January 2023 earliest, other April

Dublin – No availability until early 2024

Kerry – No availability until mid-July/September 2023

Kildare – No availability until July 2023, other September

Kilkenny – No availability until mid 2023

*Laois – No availability until August 2022/September 2022

*Leitrim – Currently six week waiting list, other 155 children currently on wait list

*Limerick – Possible availability end of September 2022, end of year

Longford – 12 names waiting, no longer taking names, no availability June 2023

*Louth – No availability until September 2022, August 2022/July 2023

Mayo – One year waiting list, 180 names on list, reviewing in September

Meath – Fully booked until 2023, reviewing list in July/August

Monaghan - No availability until September 2023, including one with 40 names on waiting list

Offaly - Fully booked until 2023, waiting list at capacity, 18 month waiting list

Roscommon – Fully booked until September 2023, revising waiting list September 2022, one year waiting list

Sligo –Fully booked until 2024, no availability June 2023, waiting list at capacity

Tipperary – Fully booked May 2023, revising list August/September 2022

*Waterford – Waiting list full until end of August 2022, reviewing list August/September, list at capacity

Westmeath – No availability until June 2023, September, 19 names on waiting list

Wexford – Fully booked until 2024, revising list June 2022

*Wicklow – Full until July 2022, revising list in September 2022, not taking names

Donegal – 73 names on list, 40 names on list, revising waiting list in September 2022

Galway – No availability until next year/summer 2023, 20 names on list

* possible availability in 2022

Reporting by: Josh Crosbie

Main image: Babies playing on the floor with toys in a creche. Picture by: Oksana Kuzmina / Alamy Stock Photo

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