Photo taken by Paul Lalor of Sonas staff members carrying children to safety.
Over 100 parents have had to re-organise childminding services and over 30 staff have been without work since Wednesday, November 22 when Sonas Community Childcare Centre in Mountmellick was badly damaged by floods.
A plan is awaiting approval from the Child and Family Agency Tusla which will allow a temporary creche to open on Monday, December 4 for the foreseeable future until the damage is properly assessed in the original building.
If the plan is approved, management will open up parts of the Mountmellick Development Association (MDA) building temporarily to resume the services of Sonas Childcare. It is planned that some rooms above the creche, above the museum and on the top floor of the MDA building itself will be used.
The Board of Directors of the MDA said at a public meeting on Sunday evening that they will have a definite answer by Thursday, November 30.
This temporary creche will have to meet standards outlined by Tusla by this Thursday.
This includes having the correct bedding, equipment and meeting health and safety needs. If the standards are met the doors of the temporary creche will open on Monday.
The management expressed that it is very confident that the creche will open on this day but it is still awaiting definite confirmation.
A huge amount of work has to be done before Thursday to achieve this.
A public meeting was held in the Mountmellick Community Arts Centre on Sunday evening, November 26 where the Board of Directors of MDA and management of Sonas informed parents of this plan to re-open and resume childmind services.
Liam Dempsey of the Mountmellick Development Association said that this plan was "ambitious" but promised, "we will rise from the ashes and we will be back again".
"In our minds at this stage, we are opening on Monday, December 4. If there is something that prevents us from doing that we will try and address whatever concerns there are and open as soon as possible," he said.
Huge praise was given to all of the help that made the evacuation of 170 children possible as well as the clean-up that followed. The staff of Sonas, in particular, received a round of applause. Staff, firefighters and Civil Defence all worked together to lift each child to safety out of the flooded building on Wednesday.
Two cars belonging to Sonas staff are now written-off because they were in the path of the flood while the staff were busy seeing to the children's welfare.
"I would like to pay a special tribute to the staff under Manager Caitriona for the work you did on Wednesday, it was unbelievable. It has been a very stressful time for parents, we would like to thank you for your help and co-operation over the last few days," he said.
All emergency workers were hugely praised for their help.
Manager of Sonas, Caitriona O'Hearne, spoke emotionally of the destruction that has wiped out all of the materials inside the creche including all of the children's records.
The creche is now in need of unwanted toys in good condition. Donations are welcome from the public.
A number of parents praised the fantastic work of the management in how they have handled the situation and come up with a plan so quickly to get back on their feet.
One parent suggested organising a fundraiser to help cover the cost which they agreed would be looked at down the line; the immediate concern is getting the doors of the temporary creche open.
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