Ireland’s Largest Community Childcare Centre at Risk of Immediate Closure


The country’s largest community childcare centre today calls on the Government to urgently increase funding or it faces imminent closure. The Darndale Belcamp Integrated Childcare Service, located on Dublin’s Northside, has experienced funding cuts over the last number of years that have now placed the centre in a severe financial crisis.

The Centre is a vital family support in an area where many families experience multiple challenges. Early intervention is extremely important for children in these circumstances and without the support of the Centre, some children are put at immediate risk of underachievement. The Centre acts as a crucial resource for parents, enabling them to access training, education and employment opportunities. It employs 48 permanent staff, 7 relief staff and 43 Community Employment, Jobs Initiative and TUS employees.

The Board and Management have advised the relevant agencies over the past few years that the cuts were unsustainable. Vigorous lobbying of Public Representatives, Government Agencies and Departments over the past few months has not met with success. Last week staff were formally notified of the risk of redundancy and parents of the risk of closure. The Board is now appealing directly to the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Charles Flanagan, to take immediate action to provide the funding both short and long term to ensure the centre stays open.

With 250 children in attendance daily, most under the age of 6 years, the Darndale Belcamp Integrated Childcare Service needs a €200,000 cash injection to secure the centre to the end of 2014. A further €200,000 will be required annually to provide a sustainable solution for this much needed service. Previous cuts in funding were partially covered through private funding, staff paycuts and other cost cutting measures but there is no more scope in these areas. The centre will be forced to shut its doors unless the Government intervenes immediately.

The work of the centre has been recognised on a national level, receiving praise from a number of Government officials over the years. In 2013, the centre received the prestigious Síolta Award from the Department of Education and Skills, recognising quality assurance in early childhood care and education. The Centre has the full support of local HSE and TUSLA management and is held in esteem across the Early Childhood Education sector. The Centre is part of the local area response to safeguarding children and at any time can have 40 children referred in through the social work team.

Ciarán Mulhall, Chairman of the Voluntary Board of Management commented; “The centre is the largest of its kind in the country and our aim is to promote the physical, emotional, social and educational well-being of the children. The closure will have a detrimental effect on the area and vulnerable children will be put at immediate risk. We are a feeder for three local DEIS schools in the area and the development that the children receive at the centre is vital for their progress in education. We are pleading with the Government for this much needed funding in order to protect the centre, its children and the jobs of our employees”.

About Darndale Belcamp Integrated Childcare Service

The Darndale Belcamp Integrated Childcare Service Ltd, located on the Northside of Dublin City, was established in January 2001. The centre’s mission is to provide an integrated service to meet the increasing needs of the community for high quality, safe, affordable and inclusive childcare services. The centre promotes the physical, emotional, social and educational well-being of the children and a strong foundation for their lifelong learning.

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Ireland’s Largest Community Childcare Centre at Risk of Immediate Closure
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