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There must be consequences for childcare facilities in breach of guidelines – McDonald

30 May, 2013 - by Mary Lou McDonald TD

Speaking in the Dáil this morning Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald TD called on the Tánaiste to tackle Government’s failure to deliver on child welfare commitments.

The Dublin Central TD demanded consequences for childcare facilities in breach of HSE guidelines.

Deputy McDonald said:

“We were all shocked by the contents of Tuesday night’s Prime Time programme on pre-school care. But the reality is we have been here before. For many years serious issues with regards to crèche and pre-school care have been identified and reported on.

“Understaffing, inadequate supervision and failures in vetting have long been known about.

“Prime Time Investigates starkly illustrated the consequences for society when caring roles are relegated to second class. This government, like the last, continues to undervalue carers and carers’ work.

“The Taoiseach yesterday spoke about the brand image of childcare being of the highest standard. This from the same government who on its Jobs Bridge webpage is carrying adverts looking for childcare workers seeking interns to work with children with no experience required for €50.

“Will State funding continue to go to child care facilities that are not properly inspected, regulated and with suitably qualified staff? Does the Minister have a list of those that have not been inspected?

“What steps are you taking to restore confidence in parents that their children are properly cared for in pre-school care? How precisely is the government going to start valuing the care of our children?

“We know there is a systematic breach of guidelines by the three crèches featured in the programme. Yet as of this morning all remain open.

“Parents are paying through the nose, upwards of €1,000 to €1200 a month for childcare yet this government’s lax inspection regime is undermining quality control.

“We’ve had a Minister for Children for 2 ½ years. How many children have started and finished childcare in that time? There needs to be consequences for the facilities that have breached guidelines.

“Government must restore the confidence of parents dropping their children off at crèches this morning, tomorrow and next week.” ENDS

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