Parents left in a state of ‘panic’ at closure of after-school facility

by Rebecca Ryan

Parents were left in a state of “panic” when an after-school facility at Dimples Crèche and Montessori announced its closure last week at short notice. 

Last Tuesday evening, the Sandyford facility emailed parents telling them they had to cease their after school service, the Morning Sessional ECCE class and part time places.

Previously, school-age services were not required to registration with Tusla, but since February, aftercare providers have been required to register with the agency.

In a statement, Dimples Crèche & Montessori said that Tulsa have asked them to reduce the number of children in its care, and to undergo a number of changes to its building.

“We were notified that our new registration would not be accepted until we reverted back to original numbers of children attending across our services – back to our original registration of 140 children – and that we undergo small changes to the building.

“This is despite the fact that we have the staff and space for these services. 

“We have to implement new regulations, and then reapply for a higher number of children, as part of the Crèche registration.”

The creche apologised for any inconvenience caused to families. They said they were “devastated” and “heartbroken” to turn away their “lovely children” and hopes the situation is temporary.

Local councillor, Michael Fleming told Dublin Gazette the closure affected 96 children.

“I suppose I know a lot of creche owners in the area, and I contacted them personally. I got 14 into one after school and six into another.

“[The council] stepped in as well… So, between that we were able to help people out.

“I don’t know if everybody is sorted yet, but I think we got most people sorted by Friday.

“In my opinion [the notice given] was a little bit short. Maybe if more notice was given to the parents, there mightn’t have been as much panic last Tuesday,” said Cllr Fleming.

Parents took to online to express their feelings on the closure at short notice.

One parent wrote: “I am one of the parents affected by this. I was lucky to get my daughter into Westwood however, their bus going to her school is full so cannot collect her from school currently and I also have no solution for the morning drop off during school term and school holidays.”

Another person wrote: “I’m very disheartened with the way parents and children have been treated.

“We have been working tirelessly since 7 this morning making phone calls sending emails contacting Tusla, DLR, planning department etc we all need to come together to help these families who are under severe stress.

While another comment: “This is so upsetting for the parents but also the staff…”

However, some commented that Tulsa enforced the closure for the safety of children. One wrote: “Tusla are there for the safety and welfare of the children! Especially in this case!”

In a statement, Tusla told Dublin Gazette that the agency would not comment on individual cases but said that it is essential that all early years services operate within their required registration agreement to make sure they can provide safe services to all children.

“There is a clear and timely process for services who want to change the circumstance of their operations with Tusla.”

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