Imelda Munster, Sinn Féin TD for Louth and East Meath, has appealed to the Minister for Children, Roderic O’Gorman TD to immediately address the ongoing situation regarding Scallywags Creche, in Togher, Co. Louth which unexpectedly shut its services in recent weeks.
Deputy Munster was speaking in the Dáil on Sinn Féin’s motion on childcare.
Deputy Munster said:
“Scallywags is a community childcare service which operated a creche and an after-school care service in Togher. It was run by the Togher Community Project, which is a limited not-for-profit company and registered charity.
“Recently staff and parents were informed by text that the service has closed. There was no consultation process ahead of this decision.
“This has left 40 parents in the vicinity suddenly without childcare, and 14 staff members have lost their jobs.
“Parents have argued that the service is viable, and has cash reserves of €450,000. They are saying that it has not shut due to the challenges presented by the Covid-19 crisis which according to media reports was offered as a reason for the closure by the board of management.
“I understand that the Gardaí are currently investigating the matter.
“This is a vital community service, and parents and staff in the area should be able to expect that any changes to the service take place in a transparent matter, and that they are consulted on changes of this type. This has not happened in this case.
“Community creches receive state funding, and the Department of Children has an oversight role in how they provide public services. I have written to the Minister for Children, and I have raised the current situation at Scallywags with him in the Dáil. I have asked him to urgently look into this matter and ensure that the service, which is viable, will remain open.
“This decision has had enormous repercussions locally. Staff have lost their jobs. Parents have lost their childcare service at a very difficult time. The Minister must investigate this matter immediately and ensure the service is restored.”