Kilcullen childcare project loses funding - because it’s childcare

Kilcullen Community Play Group Protest. Photo: Jimmy Fullam.
A proposed Kilcullen childcare centre has been deemed ineligble for funding - because it’s a childcare centre.

A proposed Kilcullen childcare centre has been deemed ineligble for funding - because it’s a childcare centre.

Bizarrely, the Kilcullen Childcare and Education Centre received funding last year from the Department of the Environment, but have now ruled that the project is ineligble for grant aid because it relates to childcare.

Locals say they are simply not going to accept the Department’s decision and are planning to highlight what they call the “idiocy of this move”. They have even sought legal advice.

The Centre has received widespread support in Kilcullen and local campaigners have already raised a substantial part of the €450,000 they had to come up with to build it. Currently located in prefabs at the Naomh Bhride Community centre, where it is proposed the new centre will be built, childcare services are provided to 25 families.

County Kildare Leader Partnership, which the main funder, has approved the project and the expected grant aid from the Department would have been to 75% of the overall cost.

“Our community values children and families and we will let the government know that this project is too important to be shelved,” they explained in a statement. EIt is unconscionable that we would be turned down at this stage,” board member Orla O’Neil told the Leinster Leader.

The group were made aware of the decision from Kildare Leader on Thursday, May 30 and have gone public with the bad news after negotiations to reverse the decision were unsuccessful.

“Our application was watertight,” another board member Iseult O’Donoghue told the Leader. “We’ve been working really hard to make sure we come up to the highest standards. None of us are doing this for any gain – we’re all Mammy’s working outside the home. Our families have really taken a big hit – it’s all be voluntary.

The campaign to build the Centre has been ongoing for the past two years, and have overcome several setbacks along the way.

They are now baffled as to how a project that is obviously childcare-related could have been approved for funding for a Special Manager last year and yet this year be deemed ineligible because it’s for childcare.

A public meeting is being organised for tomorrow evening, Wednesday, June 19 where a campaign to reverse the Department’s decision will be launched.

“It is open to appeal, and to judicial review if necessary. We have employed a solicitor,” Ms. O’Donoghue

- Conor McHugh