THE West Clare Family Resource Centre has called an emergency meeting on Monday at 7.30pm in Kilrush Community Centre, following news that West Clare Early Years has closed with the loss of 53 jobs. The headquarters are located in Glebe House, Kilrush, while there are childcare facilities also located in Lissycasey, Kilkee, Kildysart and Kilmihil. Four hundred families are now without childcare following the closure which followed a meeting of the Board of Management on Saturday.
“We’ll be gathering on Monday evening to work out a campaign and call upon local and national politicians to take fast action to guarantee our children aren’t left without good quality care. Everyone is welcome to come along,” said Mary O’Donoghue, co-ordinator of the West Clare Family Resource Centre in Kilrush.
“These closures are a catastrophe for families who rely on childcare, not to mention the 53 workers who have lost their jobs. First and foremost, we will be calling for reinstatement of all childcare services that have closed. But then we will be insisting that local and national leaders put in place measures that mean this situation can’t happen again in the future,” she added.
Meanwhile, Labour TD Michael McNamara described the development as a huge blow. He said he met with some affected parents in West Clare on Saturday.
“The widespread effects were immediately evident as we met parents throughout West Clare. Affordable childcare is an essential to the economy of the region and its people. Its shutdown, however temporary, will have disastrous effects,” Deputy McNamara said.
“Therefore, I am calling on the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, James Reilly, in conjunction with Pobal, to address the situation immediately and utilise the existing subventions, staff and facilities in addition to whatever additional organisational and funding supports are required to open the doors again. The future of the regional economy and the livelihoods of several hundred people are at stake. This is no time for bureaucratic constraints or sitting on hands,” the Labour TD added.
By Peter O’Connell