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Owners and parents united in delight as creche saved from closure

The threat of closure which hung over a childcare facility in Tuam has been averted – much to the delight of the owners and parents in the area.

Concern was expressed that not alone would more than 80 families be affected by the closure but that 24 jobs were also at risk.

Negotiations took place earlier this week between the operators of Happily Ever After creche and members of the local clergy, who own the building where the facility has been in operation for the past five years.

It is understood that works are to be carried out on the building to comply with safety standards.

Earlier this week, the owners of the childcare facility in Tuam along with parents were said to be ‘left reeling’ as the local parish council refused to renew the lease of the building from which it operates.

The closure threat stemmed from a routine fire inspection carried out a number of months ago.

But the operators of Happily Ever After creche had agreed to carry out the recommended improvements on a phased basis but Tuam Parish Council then declined this offer.

It prompted a major outcry as more than 2,000 people have signed a petition to keep the childcare facility, which is availed of by more than 80 families, open.

The Archbishop of Tuam, Dr Francis Duffy, and the clergy at large were called upon to intervene in the situation in an effort to keep the facility open.

The operators of the creche, Sara Walsh and Claire McGrath, in a statement, had appealed to the public to help save the facility.

“We are stunned by the decision and are absolutely heartbroken that our beloved childcare facility is being taken from us.

“In recent years, the childcare crisis has been well documented and we have overcome many challenges such as Covid and staff shortages to ensure that we are there to look after these wonderful families.

“We can’t believe this is what could lead us to shut our doors. Children from six months to twelve years call our facility their second home.

“It is a building full of love, laughter and adventure. We cannot bear to think that 81 families and our 24 dedicated employees will be impacted in a few short weeks.”

But now the threat to the closure of the childcare facility has been averted as a new leasing arrangement has been entered into.

According to Cathaoirleach of Tuam Municipal Council, Cllr Donagh Killilea, there were fears that the property would be put up for sale and that this was the original intention.

“What was being suggested was nothing short of a scandal and I am glad that there has been some arrangement put in place.

“There was a lot more happening behind the scenes but fortunately the children and parents have been given a reprieve. It is welcome news,” added Cllr Killilea.


Pictured are Directors at Happily Ever After creche in Tuam Sara Walsh and Claire McGrath. Photo: Jacinta Fahy Photography.

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