Government Buildings late-night creche to invite tenders

Toddler menu for resource used by TDs and Senators includes lamb tangia and cod pilaf

Leinster House: The Oireachtas creche   provides   service “from 6.30pm to 9.30pm to facilitate late-night sittings of either Dáil Éireann or Seanad Éireann”. Photograph: Alan Betson

Leinster House: The Oireachtas creche provides service “from 6.30pm to 9.30pm to facilitate late-night sittings of either Dáil Éireann or Seanad Éireann”. Photograph: Alan Betson

 

Childcare providers will soon be competing for the chance to run the subsidised late-night Oireachtas creche. The tender for the facility near Leinster House is due to be published later this month.

A spokeswoman for the Houses of the Oireachtas confirmed the creche does not get State funding, but the operator will be provided with “accommodation and utilities”. She said the Oireachtas owns the equipment and provides the premises rent free.

The creche – which charges €817 a month for babies, €772 for toddlers and €707 for Montessori places – has playrooms, four toilets, a kitchen, a changing room, a buggy storage area, and an outdoor play area.

Deputies, Senators, Leinster House staff and civil servants from government departments can use the resource.

Oireachtas management declined to say how many members of the Dáil and Seanad use the centre, which can cater for up to 29 children. A Freedom of Information reply from the Houses of the Oireachtas stated this was private data and it was not in the public interest to disclose which elected representatives bring their children there.

Twenty children were enrolled at the premises, which opens from 8.30am to 6.30pm Monday-Friday, last month.

Late-night sittings

There is also a service “from 6.30pm to 9.30pm to facilitate late-night sittings of either Dáil Éireann or Seanad Éireann”, the Freedom of Information response stated. Parents are charged €10 extra per hour for this provision, and can also avail of a separate drop-in service for €7.35 per hour.

An Oireachtas spokeswoman said the drop-in service was “arranged in advance and would depend on the availability of staff and space”.

Meals for the children are delivered by an external catering company on a daily basis, and a sample weekly menu lists a variety of options for toddlers. Dinners include Mexican chicken and rice, cod pilaf, Greek hotpot and sauteed potatoes, lamb tangia and rice, Caribbean turkey curry and rice, and pork with mixed vegetables, apricot and potato.

Kids Inc won the tender to run the creche in 2010 and the company has been managing the service there since. Six full-time staff members and two part-time employees work in the creche.

It is open all year round, except bank holidays, and would “normally close on Christmas Eve each year until the first working day in January”.