The Department of Children is “misleading” the public on the actual number of creche closures in 2023, according to the Federation of Early Childhood Providers (FECP).
The Department announced on Friday that there were 46 net closures of creches in the first seven months of 2023, compared to 78 closures in the same period in 2019.
They also said the number of Early Learning & Care (ELC) and standalone School-Aged Childcare (SAC) services is now increasing, according to the Tusla register.
Youth Minister Roderic O’Gorman said the Government is committed to providing “affordable, high quality” childcare places in Ireland.
Despite that, FECP Chair Elaine Dunne said the figures don’t tally with the real picture for childcare providers in Ireland
“We have been notified by 47 of our members they have closed their doors since the end of the June,” she said.
“In Cork in the last 14 days, four services have closed down and 274 children have been displaced and have nowhere else to go.”
“So actually, it’s the highest number of closures in the last three years.
“We would be hugely concerned that we have gone on to the Tusla website and see providers that have closed their doors in the last 18 months and their services are still listed up.”
The FECP recently reported 68% of childcare providers were unsure of their business’ future.
Key issues included “financial viability, staffing challenges, administrative burden, mental health and well-being, and a lack of respect”.
Another 98% of childcare providers said they don’t feel engaged with the Department of Children.
“When you look at the number of services closing down, it’s not okay,” Ms Dunne said.