Thursday, 7 November 2019
Ceisteanna ar Reachtaíocht a Gealladh (Atógáil) - Questions on Promised Legislation (Resumed)
Michael Collins (Cork South West, Independent)
Due to new regulations pertaining to preschool crèches, small preschools will have to ensure they are compliant with regulations or face closure. As a result, in the Cork South-West constituency in Castletownbere, a privately run, HSE-approved, crèche, catering for a large number of children and employing five members of staff, will have to close its doors on 22 November. In Coppeen, a successful private playschool, serving a large rural area for over 25 years, will also face closure. These playschools have little time with only one month to either comply or close down. If closure is the end story, it will be a huge blow to the communities in question. In one of the cases, it will cost €50,000 to bring it up to new standards. These playschool operators fully realise regulations are of the utmost importance. However, will the Government review these new regulations with a view to rural-proofing them in such a way that new guidelines will not be detrimental to small schools in rural communities? This might mean ensuring grant aid is made available, as well as a longer length of time to comply with these guidelines, in order to incentivise and enable the playgrounds in Castletownbere, Coppeen and other areas to continue to provide a valuable service to hundreds of children in their communities.