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Parents left in the lurch after crèche announces its closure


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

Parents left in the lurch after crèche announces its closure Parents left in the lurch after crèche announces its closure

Parents and children have been left devastated by the news that their neighbourhood crèche in Galway is to close – after more than 25 years in operation – due to difficulties in recruiting staff.

Naomi’s Crèche in Slí Gheal, Knocknacarra, is to close its doors for the final time on Tuesday, April 16.

Founded in 1999, the childcare centre has been based at the purpose-built building in the estate on the Ballymoneen Road since 2004.

The owner, Naomi King, dropped the bombshell on parents collecting their charges on Tuesday in a letter. There are understood to be around 40 children – aged four months to six years old – being cared for at the facility.

“After thorough deliberation and with a profound sense of responsibility towards the families we serve, we have made the difficult decision to close our doors. This decision comes after increasingly challenging circumstances surrounding recruiting suitably qualified childcare staff,” she wrote.

“Finding professionals who meet our high care, education and safety standards has become nearly impossible despite our best efforts.

“Despite exhaustive efforts to address this issue, the reality is that the recruitment landscape has shifted making it almost impossible for us to maintain the high standards of care and education that are the hallmarks of Naomi’s Crèche.”

One mother, who asked not to be named, described the news as devastating.

“To say the least, staff, children and parents are all devasted and scrambling now to find alternative childcare for their children. Most places are quoting 2025-27 for start dates.”

The crèche knows better than most about the difficulty in recruiting staff. During the pandemic, it set up a recruitment agency for qualified childcare workers to help other businesses to find cover in the event of a staffing crisis.

It did this after four of its nine staff became unavailable to work due to being close contacts of confirmed cases of Covid-19.

“We really struggled to find cover at short notice and we were surprised to find that there were no agencies available to creches that provided immediate recruitment relief which is why we decided to launch SOS by Naomi’s Crèche to help other creche owners cover short or long term recruitment needs.”

Local Labour councillor Niall McNelis said he had spoken to a number of parents who are very worried about sourcing an alternative place for their children.

“I’m not blaming the business, I’m hearing that a superb service has always been given, I know many families who used it but it’s going to be very, very difficult to find a childcare spot in Knocknacarra,” he opined.

“It puts families in an awful situation. I know what it’s like running a business myself. But it highlights yet again the need to look at childcare in this country.

“People can get more money standing behind a country at a till in a shopping centre than minding a two-year-old child. It’s a vocation. And costs are very high for a small business – the rules around the ratio of childcare workers, wages and insurance increases, I can understand why they are saying it’s not viable anymore. People feel they’d be better off working for somebody else.”

Naomi’s Crèche had not responded to queries from the Galway City Tribune at the time of publication

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