Fianna Fáil TD for Cork North Central Pádraig O’Sullivan has slammed the Children’s Minister for what he says is her complete failure to address capacity issues in the childcare sector.

He made the comments after Na Páistí Beaga in the Glen announced that it is to close its doors at the end of the year.

Deputy O’Sullivan said, “The closure of this creche came as a complete shock to parents who are now faced with the unenviable task of trying to find a place for their child. Following the announcement, Fianna Fáil tabled a Parliamentary Question to Minister Zappone asking her if she was aware of the closure and what steps she would be taking to resolve the issue.

“The Minister tried to absolve herself of responsibility and is directing parents to Cork City Childcare Committee, which is of little comfort when there is already a serious shortage of childcare places on the northside of the city.

“There is a massive childcare crisis in Cork, and indeed right across the country, and this government has stood idly by and allowed the situation to worsen. This latest closure will only add to the stress being felt by parents on the northside.

“The capacity issues have been exacerbated by the re-registration deadline, and there are real concerns that more creches could close by the end of the year if they are not compliant with the Tusla guidelines. With very few alternatives, this is the last thing that parents need to be dealing with in the run up to Christmas.

“Minister Zappone has overseen an escalating crisis in our childcare sector, and parents in Cork are really feeling the squeeze. The closure of Na Páistí Beaga is another blow to parents and the attitude of the Minister is extremely disappointing and frustrating”, concluded Deputy O’Sullivan.