Minister for Children needs to reform childcare regulations and inspection regime urgently – Ó Caoláin
Commenting on the RTÉ investigation into childcare facilities, Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health & Children Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD said:
“The RTE investigation has uncovered very disturbing realities about the management of childcare facilities and the treatment of children in some creches in this State. Breaches of regulations are widespread, with often distressing consequences for young children. The level of breaches of regulations at 75 per cent is very disturbing.
“The high incidence of creches with inadequate staff numbers and without proper records on staff is very serious.
“The HSE has itself admitted that there is light touch regulation and that, damningly, there is over-emphasis on the business interests of childcare providers.
“The Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald must now act decisively. All HSE inspection reports on childcare facilities should be published, in the same manner as HIQA reports on nursing homes and other healthcare facilities.
“The current childcare regulations and the HSE inspection regime are clearly totally inadequate. Staff levels, training and remuneration are wholly inadequate, leading to many of the breaches of regulations exposed. The State is funding high cost and profitable private childcare facilities that are below standard.
“These issues must now be addressed urgently by the Minister and the HSE. I will be raising this matter in the Dáil tomorrow.”