Councillor for Lucan-Palmerstown-North Clondalkin, Derren Ó Brádaigh, has criticised the Government for failing to deliver upon urgently needed childcare facilities in a strategic development zone in west Dublin.
Cllr Ó Brádaigh said “Affordable childcare is a huge issue everywhere in Ireland but has become particularly acute in Lucan now, with the escalating population growth accompanying the Adamstown SDZ and development generally west of the Newcastle Road. The limited number of creche facilities are in most instances akin to the cost of a second mortgage, without any availability, even if parents can afford them.
The original construction of Adamstown and Castlegate back in 2007 delivered in excess of 1,100 homes. This doesn’t include the likes of Stratton and St Helen’s that were built in the last couple of years. Sixteen years on, there is only one privately run creche with places for 70 children and this facility is fully booked until the end of 2024. Whilst there are plans for another similar creche to locate in the newly built Shackleton development, I understand that there has already been close to 400 enquiries seeking to secure places.
“Councillors learned at a recent Area Committee meeting that the community team in South Dublin County Council have recently consulted with their planning colleagues to confirm the model used for creche planning. The standards for creches are set out within Childcare Facilities Guidelines for Planning Authorities June 2001 published by the Department. These standards are reflected in the County Development Plan and seek one childcare facility with a minimum of 20 places for each 75 units for new residential development. Doing the maths on this in relation to the existing homes I’ve mentioned, would equate to a deficit of at least 3 childcare facilities with places of 70 or more.
“It is vital that we begin to see new affordable public creche facilities in tandem with the arrival of any further development. This is something that so many young ordinary working parents and families in Lucan are demanding now. In my view, we need to invest considerably in childcare, and early years learning now need to be seen as an essential public service, just as secondary school was when it was made free in 1967.”