Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

20.44 4 Aug 2021


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Parents and childcare providers have expressed their frustration at the lack of places available in creches.

Many parents have found themselves dealing with lengthy waiting lists in the hopes of securing a spot for their child.

Childcare providers, meanwhile, say they just don't have enough places to cater for the demand - a problem that has only been made worse during the COVID crisis.

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The need to keep children and staff in 'pods', for example, has created fresh staffing and space complications for many creches around the country.

On Lunchtime Live, Adrian Kennedy spoke to some of those who've been directly impacted by these issues.

'I put my child’s name down for childcare when I was four weeks pregnant... there still wasn't a space'

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Mother of two Laura Dowling was just four weeks pregnant when she put her second child's name down on a waiting list at a creche.

She said: “I naively didn’t get childcare very easily for my first child, so when I found out I was pregnant with my second child I rang the creche straightaway. I thought I was being over the top… but they assured me I wasn’t being over the top.

“There still wasn’t a space available. In most of the places I’m informed go to the siblings of older children that are already in the creche.”

Laura said she wanted to go back to work once her children had reached a certain age, but it was “incredibly stressful” to find a childcare place to facilitate that.

'A real problem'

Louise Gillick, meanwhile, is the manager at St Louise’s Early Childhood Development Service in Dublin's North Inner City.

She has had to refuse 17 people this year as the service is fully booked.

She said: “This year we have 40 places, and I just refused 17 places as we just didn’t have enough room.

“I’m in the north-east inner city… and we have a real shortage of places. The centre I work in operates for the pre-school places - the ECDC - which takes children from two years and eight months to five years. In that area, there are no places for children under two.

“It is a real problem.”

She said she personally knows many of the parents looking for a place for their child, but there's simply nothing she or her colleagues can do to facilitate everyone.

Meanwhile, COVID restrictions have also limited their operating capacity - meaning they can’t offer afternoon sessions at the moment.

Louise believes the more long-term problems facing the childcare sector "will never be solved” until there’s one unified department / organisation overseeing the sector in Ireland.

Main image: File photo. Picture by: Dominic Lipinski/PA Archive/PA Images

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