Ages and Stages staff hold sit-in protest

A member of the Ages and Stages staff speaks to reporter Elaine Keogh during their sit-in protest last night

A member of the Ages and Stages staff speaks to reporter Elaine Keogh during their sit-in protest last night

Staff of the Ages and Stages Early Years Centre in Mullaharlin Park staged a sit-in protest yesterday evening against the closure of the facility.

Supported by parents who gathered outside the facility, the staff claimed that crèche operators Dundalk ICTU Ltd had handled the closure of the crèche badly and that they were protesting for “simple dignity” and for theirstatutory rights to be upheld.

Talk of the Town broke news of the closure two weeks ago.

Staff had been campaigning for their P45s and redundancy but it is understood that an agreement was reached late last night.

Creches offer support to staff and parents affected by Ages and Stages closure

Ages and Stages will close its doors on Friday August 29th

Ages and Stages will close its doors on Friday August 29th

Following the story we brought you yesterday about Ages and Stages Early Years Centre in Mullaharlin Park closing at the end of the month, a number of other local crèches have been offering their assistance to both parents and staff affected by the decision.

Pugwash Bay owner Sharon Bell said she had a number of job and childcare openings for those left stranded by the Ages and Stages’ impending closure on Friday August 29th.

She said: “I would love to help some of the girls out who will be left without a job. We are looking for staff to work in Lis na Dara and Annagassan. We are actively recruiting staff now with a view to starting work from 25th August onward.

“We also have plenty of free childcare places available for children living close to Lis na Dara and Annagassan,” she said before adding that their crèches in Bay Estate and Knockbridge were unfortunately our full for those in receipt of free childcare.

Faughart Scholars Creche and Playschool have also offered to help out having declared they have places available.

For details on this call 086 8810581.

Jennifer Bogan of Little Oaks Pre-school in Haggardstown also said that she might be able to help out parents stressed by what they will do with their children from the end of the month onwards.

She said: “Very sorry to hear the news of this closure. I operate Little Oaks Pre-school in Haggardstown and I may be able to offer assistance to parents of children eligible for their free pre-school year this coming September. Please contact me on littleoaksdundalk@gmail.com

There were similar offers from Fiona McKenna, who said: “Kidz Akademy in Greenarces opens 7.30 til 6pm. We have vacancies for children aged 12 months to 12 years. Please call 042 9357852” and Sarah Nordon, who added: Very sad to hear another childcare facility is closing its doors. We may be able to help as we have vacancies in Tiny Tots Nursery, Old Coes Road. Call 042 9326478.”

Aoife Dunleavy of Women’s Aid also offered assistance, saying: “The Playroom Project @ Women’s Aid Dundalk are more then happy to accommodate parents and children affected by the closure. We offer playroom, preschool and after school, we are a community creche so subvention is also available. For parents of children with additional needs we offer special needs assistance and also a range of supportive therapies for children. Call us on 0429337202 and we would be happy to help.”

Yesterday, Mandy Stevenson from the Redeemer crèche in Ashling Park has also extended an olive branch to affected parents.

She emailed Talk of the Town to say: “I am the chairperson of Redeemer board. I was shocked to hear the news regarding the closure of Ages and Stages creche.

“We are a community creche in Redeemer and are willing to support parents with places for their children. My contact details are 0871351413.”

Claire Woods of Louth Childcare also added: “Support for Parents is available from Louth County Childcare Committee in seeking alternative childcare arrangements. Please contact us on 042 9336364  or visit our website www.louthchildcare.ie.”

DFP Group acquire two new financial services firms

Pictured at the announcement of the deal are: Aoife McCarthy, director, DFP Group; Michael Bollard, managing director, Bollard Financial Services; Eoin Doohan, group managing director, DFP; and Brendan Nordone, group actuary DFP.

Pictured at the announcement of the deal are: Aoife McCarthy, director, DFP Group; Michael Bollard, managing director, Bollard Financial Services; Eoin Doohan, group managing director, DFP; and Brendan Nordon, group actuary DFP.

Dundalk-based DFP Group, one of the north east’s largest pension and investment consultants recently announced the acquisition of Bollard Financial Services and Doody Crowley Financial Services in Dublin.

Both Bollard Financial Services and Doody Crowley Financial Services are long established financial advisory firms with over 25 years’ experience advising both private clients and companies in all aspects of investment and retirement planning. These acquisitions further strengthen the DFP Group’s commercial footprint within the greater Leinster region.

Eunan O’Carroll of Core Consulting who managed the deal for the Quayside Business Park-based DFP Group said: “This deal represents a win-win situation for all firms involved. Given the likely changes to the business model as a result of pending regulation and the changing commercial focus of the larger product providers, financial advisory firms will require significant investment is systems and resources, if they are going to transition their business to the new model advisor approach that will emerge in the next two years.”

Commenting on the acquisition to Business and Finance, Eoin Doohan, group managing director of DFP Group said: “We are delighted to welcome Bollard Financial Services and Doody Crowley Financial Services as part of the DFP Group. These are strategic acquisitions on our part and they will ensure we remain one of the leading independent financial advisory practices within the Irish market with combined assets under management in excess of €175m.”

Michael Bollard, a well-known financial services practitioner in Dublin for many years and director of Bollard Financial Services said: “This deal further strengthens our capacity to deliver a highly professional financial advisory services to all our clients and ensure we are best placed to deal with the changing market dynamic that will emerge in the future as a result of further European regulation enforcement.”

Bollard Financial Services will now be rebranded as BFS Pension & Investment Consultants and trade under the DFP Group of companies.

New stores open but others close in a mixed few weeks on the retail front

The Brass Rail boutique closed its doors last Friday after over 19 years in business

The Brass Rail boutique closed its doors on Clanbrassil Street last Friday after over 19 years in business

There has been mixed news on the retail front in recent days with stores both opening and closing in the area.

A new Mace store opened its doors in Blackrock yesterday while Kieran’s Avenue Pharmacy is set to open shortly on the Avenue Road beside The Gym and the former Joan’s Stores.

There have been casualties too unfortunately. After over 19 years in business, the Brass Rail boutique in Clanbrassil Street closed its doors last Friday.

This follows hot on the heels of other recent closures such as The Bar on Francis Street and the Buy and Sell shop on Clanbrassil Street.

Pizza Hut reopens its doors in Dundalk

Pizza Hut Delivery DundalkPizza Hut has reopened its doors in Dundalk in the last few days.

The delivery store on the Dublin Road, opposite the Louth County Hospital, closed its door last September but has now been reopened by Amar Sandhu.

You can phone your order in by calling 042 9328228.

Indeed, the chain are currently on the look-out for delivery drivers for evening and night time work.

In order to apply send your details to Amar at karansandhu150@gmail.com with a contact number. You must have a full licence and your own car to be considered.

Local creches offer to come to the aid of those affected by Ages and Stages closure

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Two local crèches have offered to come to the aid of parents affected by the impending closure of the Ages and Stages Early Years Centre in Mullaharlin Park.

It was revealed yesterday that the crèche off the Dublin Road would be closing its doors on Friday August 29th.

That has sparked fears amongst parents about what will happen with their children after that while staff are also facing an uncertain future regarding their job status.

However, commenting on the Talk of the Town Facebook page this morning, Ciara Byrne of the Pugwash Bay crèche encouraged those affected to get in touch with her.

She said: “Parents and staff please contact me on 0429338055. I am the manager of Pugwash Bay crèche and Montessori based in Dundalk . We may be able to help you guys out.”

Mandy Stevenson from the Redeemer crèche in Ashling Park has also extended an olive branch to affected parents.

She emailed Talk of the Town to say: “I am the chairperson of Redeemer board. I was shocked to hear the news regarding the closure of Ages and Stages creche.

“We are a community creche in Redeemer and are willing to support parents with places for their children. My contact details are 0871351413.”

Claire Woods of Louth Childcare also added: “Support for Parents is available from Louth County Childcare Committee in seeking alternative childcare arrangements. Please contact us on 042 9336364  or visit our website www.louthchildcare.ie.”

Blow for parents, staff and children as local crèche is set to close

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Staff, parents and children involved with the local Ages and Stages Early Years Centre were dealt a devastating blow yesterday after it was announced that the crèche would close its doors at the end of this month.

The facility at Mullaharlin Park, off the Dublin Road, has been open for 20 years having initially started out in Dundalk Resource Centre. It only relocated to Mullaharlin Park in November 2008 following funding for a new centre from Pobal, ICTU, NDP, DSP, Louth County Council and the Louth County Childcare Committee.

Catering for children from six months to six years of age, it has been a hugely popular place in recent years. Now though it is set to close its doors from Friday August 29th.

One worried parent contacted Talk of the Town about Ages and Stages this morning, expressing concern at where she and other parents would find a replacement facility for children at such short notice.

Describing the news as “devastating”, she said: “I picked up my daughter from crèche yesterday evening only to be handed a letter by a young girl in tears informing me the crèche would be closing within two weeks and I would need to make alternative childcare arrangements as soon as possible, it came as such a shock!

“They’re such lovely girls in there and have built up such an amazing bond with my little girl, I don’t know where I’m going to start to find somewhere else as good.

“Apparently this is due to both lack of funding and lack of take up in childcare places. I can’t understand it though as this crèche is heavily funded by Pobal and is in an ideal catchment area located beside DKIT and only 5 minutes from Blackrock and the M1.

“I was so disappointed that given the circumstances management were not available to speak with parents and not on hand to deliver the news in person.
“I’m not sure if anything can be done to save it but I thought even just raising awareness might help.”

As well as the inconvenience and stress caused for parents by the closure, it is believed that more than a dozen staff will be out of jobs if the crèche does close its doors.

Are you affected by the closure or have your children used the facility? Let us know your thoughts!

New coffee shop for Dundalk?

starbucks_logo_by_takako_and_merieru-d45qp2nStarbucks could be on the way to Dundalk.

Sources have informed Talk of the Town that the popular coffee chain are looking at the possibility at opening a store in the Marshes Shopping Centre.

It is understood that the coffee company may look to set up in the existing Heaven boutique, opposite Penney’s, which is closing shortly.

Were the coffee house to open it would put them in direct competition with The Bagel Bar Coffee House upstairs and Costa Coffee in the centre of the mall.

To date Starbucks has only been available to buy locally in The Coffee Room at the Northlink Retail Park on the Coes Road and at an outlet in Dundalk IT.

A potential opening would follow hot on the heels of another coffee house’s closure with The Black Forest Café in Park Street recently closing its doors. A second outlet of Costa Coffee did recently open in the new Tesco Extra though.

Starbucks could be on its way to Dundalk

starbucks_logo_by_takako_and_merieru-d45qp2nStarbucks could be on the way to Dundalk.

Sources have informed Talk of the Town that the popular coffee chain are looking at the possibility at opening a store in the Marshes Shopping Centre.

It is understood that the coffee company may look to set up in the existing Heaven boutique, opposite Penney’s, which is closing shortly.

Were the coffee house to open it would put them in direct competition with The Bagel Bar Coffee House upstairs and Costa Coffee in the centre of the mall.

To date Starbucks has only been available to buy locally in The Coffee Room at the Northlink Retail Park on the Coes Road and at an outlet in Dundalk IT.

A potential opening would follow hot on the heels of another coffee house’s closure with The Black Forest Café in Park Street recently closing its doors. A second outlet of Costa Coffee did recently open in the new Tesco Extra though.