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Many pre-schools across Carlow and Kilkenny set to return to creche this morning

Around a thousand creches across the country will open their doors

The reopening of the childcare sector begins today as around a thousand creches across the country, a number of them locally, welcome back children this morning.

100,000 children enrolled in the free preschool scheme are eligible to go back under the first phase of the plan.

But it’s not clear whether all will, with only around a quarter of early years businesses expected to reopen.

Mick Kenny is Manager of Urlingford and Johnstown Community Childcare – he says it’s important that parents follow health and safety guidelines, telling KCLR News “Childcare in general we’ve been continuously open since last June and even from January a lot of childcare centres around the country have remained open for frontline and essential workers but today is the goal that government have given us the go-ahead to welcome back the pre-school kids, specifically the ECCE kids so that the kids, primarily three, four-year-olds that’ll be in their two years before they go to national school so they’ll be coming back for the first time since Christmas”

He adds “In general, we’re all very excited to have the kids back but I suppose there’s a strong message to go out to parents just around just because childcare’s reopening again we still have to be very careful and I suppose the public health recommendations and guidelines we’ll need to emphasis that they’re all followed just to make sure that that when we do reopen it’s done so safely”.

Suzanne Coughlan of Clever Cats Childcare in Inistioge and the Pre School ECCE in Ballinkillen says while she’s delighted to be welcoming back the young boys and girls, she would have liked more protection for workers, noting “We are deemed an essential service so therefore we have concerned workers as regards vaccines we are way down the list whereas teachers in primary schools and secondary schools they can wear masks and the children can wear masks, we’re told we don’t need to wear masks so we’re fully exposed because, like that, with children under three especially they need to be able to see their mouths for speech and language and be able to understand gestures and stuff like that”.