herald

Wednesday 22 January 2020

'It breaks your heart... it's hard to keep going,' say frustrated creche owners

Mary Simons, of PJ’s Playcentre in Balbriggan, Dublin. Photo: Arthur Carron
Mary Simons, of PJ’s Playcentre in Balbriggan, Dublin. Photo: Arthur Carron

A cash-strapped childcare centre has had to cancel trips, has been unable to replace staff and can't afford new equipment as it fights to avoid closing.

Michael Kenny, manager at Urlingford and Johnstown Community Childcare centres in Co Kilkenny, which care for 140 children, says premiums for both his centres trebled and both have had to introduce major cutbacks to try stay afloat.

He hit out at how qualified staff were working for less than the living wage.

"It breaks your heart," he told the Herald.

"Between the sleepless nights and everything it is getting more and more difficult.

"A lot of managers and owners stick with it for the love of the kids but at the same time it is hard to keep going as it impacts your own personal health."

Mr Kenny has worked in childcare for 26 years and says this is the worst he has ever seen it. "We had to cancel trips for kids which we have been running for the last 11 years," he said.

Meanwhile, James Cassin and his wife Mary Simons, owners of PJ's Playcentre in Balbriggan, Dublin, discovered this week that a personal injury claim is pending against the centre.

The claim concerns a fall in a car park in 2016.

Health

"It didn't even happen on our premises and didn't involve a child but we were told we have been joined in the claim," Mr Cassin said.

"We're 13 years in the childcare business and never had one claim before this."

The couple received an insurance quote from Arachas for €3,070 - three times higher than last year.

When they notified Arachas of the claim, they were told the offer was off the table and now have to wait to find out if they will get a quote and be able to open their doors in January.

Creche and play centre owners have received insurance quotes much higher than last year, but those with claims pending have been unable to secure a quote at all.

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