| 6.4°C Dublin

Hospital staff angry at creche closure

STAFF at Tallaght Hospital have expressed shock and sadness at an announcement to shut their children’s creche.

The Small World Creche has been operating for over 11 years in the Tallaght campus and caters for 50 children.

Workers with children in the facility were told by hospital management that it would be shutting in August, but the parents say they cannot understand the decision.

Questions about the infrastructure of the prefab building, as well as finances, were given as reasons for the closure.

“I’m shocked and saddened to hear the creche is closing,” said physiotherapist Elaine Barker, whose daughter attends the facility.

“We have been given a closing date of August 29. The first we heard of it was last week. A lot of parents have given up (childcare) places because they are happy with the care here,” she added.

Parents’ spokesperson Niamh Geoghegan said: “The reasons management give include new regulations from the child and family support agency Tulsa for 2015. But these have not even been published yet and the agency will afford organisations six to 12 months to achieve compliance, so we don’t see how that is a valid reason for closure.

“The creche is also a non-profit making company which is financially independent of the hospital, so costs can’t be a reason.”

She said the creche building is the best maintained of all the prefab facilities on the hospital site and “has passed all HSE inspections”.

A hospital statement said a review examined operational, financial and environmental considerations.

“In addition to the current issues examined by the review, future challenges in respect of operational and financial sustainability were also given due consideration,” the statement said.

The hospital said it regretted the loss of 12 childcare jobs and said it had engaged the services of a company to assist them in accessing new employment.

Creche assistant manager Karen Doolan said she and her colleagues were “very disappointed” an alternative to closure could not be found.