County Childcare Committee ‘may cease to exist’ – Coordinator

Coordinator of the County Roscommon Childcare Committee, Irene Cafferky, told members at Monday’s monthly meeting of Roscommon County Council that the committee’s local office could face closure following the establishment of a new State agency for Early Learning and School Age Childcare services.

“It is envisaged that we will be under the new agency…the County Childcare Committee as you know it will probably cease to exist at that stage and be under a new agency,” she said.

“Our red line is that we don’t want to lose our local office…if you lose the local the focus is gone on the county then,” Ms Cafferky said.

She voiced her opposition to a regional committee structure and said a national management (structure) “would not understand what was required locally”.

Ms Cafferky received widespread support from across the chamber, with a number of councillors vowing to keep the local office in Castlerea in operation. It was proposed a letter be written to Minister Roderic O’Gorman in support of retaining the local office in Castlerea.

As part of her presentation on childcare services in Roscommon, Ms Cafferky said €33.2 million had been brought into the county through early years services from 2014 to 2022.

She added, however, that there was “a dire need” for another large capital programme in the county and detailed challenges in the sector such as a growing population, rural transport, planning and associated costs, and meeting regulatory requirements.

She said the committee was actively seeking funding from Minister O’Gorman and his Department and urged members to raise the issue in national Government circles.