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Acute Shortage Of Childcare Facilities In Carrigaline Area

Writes Leo McMahon

Addressing the severe shortage of creche and childcare facilities for young families in Carrigaline must be prioritised in future planning for the town, says Cllr Jack White (FG).

In a motion seeking this at the monthly meeting of the county council’s Carrigaline Municipal District (MD), he said it was particularly difficult for parents who both have to work, with a child or children and no other family residing in the locality.

Cllr White said he spoke to creche owners in Carrigaline, one of whom had 400 children enrolled and over 40 staff across three locations who told him the need was acute with very long waiting lists. Some creches operated on as sibling-come-first basis but that was no good for parents with a first child and no other family in the locality.

Another factor, he continued, was that Carrigaline, the county’s largest town, was currently delivering a huge proportion of the council’s social housing needs with more on the way. He asked that the MD’s concerns be directed in a letter to the council’s Planning Policy Unit (PPU) and executive with a view that providing for more creche/child care facilities be one of top considerations in future planning.

An cathaoirleach Cllr Ben Dalton-O’Sullivan (Ind) supported the call for the PPU to be contacted. Cllr Michael Paul Murtagh (FG) concurred saying that as previously suggested at a full council meeting, there was need for a discussion with the council’s planners. He said there was a similar problem in Crosshaven with housing estates going in with provision for a creche but the latter not materialising.

‘What should happen is that a creche and childcare facility should be up and running in phase one before the rest of an estate could proceed,’ he said. If this was stipulated in policy, it would encourage a developer to sell it at a reasonable price so that construction of dwellings could continue, he added.

Cllr Audrey Buckley (FF) said she had been looking for this at least two years ago. In Crosshaven there was a creche empty 19 years. The village didn’t have a full time private creche and the one that used to be in the tennis club had relocated outside the village to the rugby club. It was now being contended in a feasibility study that because there was one currently empty, it wasn’t justified in a proposed new development but the price sought for the vacant one was very high. She agreed there was need to look at the planning policy on creche and childcare facilities.

Cllr Seamus McGrath (FF) also spoke of the huge need for childcare places. Having the intent in planning policy to provide these was one thing but delivery was another with the system falling down somewhere in between as exemplified by Crosshaven. He and Cllr White agreed with Cllr Murtagh that early delivery on developments was essential.

Cllr Marcia D’Alton (Ind) felt there needed to be an agreement in place with an operator when permission was granted. The motion was adopted.

In reply to Cllr Buckley, MD officer Carol Conway said the list of vacant sites in Carrigaline MD was still being mapped by the PPU.

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