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Minister Reilly burying head in the sand on Túsla's shortcomings – McLellan

15 April, 2015

Speaking today after questions with the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Sinn Féin TD and Spokesperson on Children Affairs Sandra McLellan said that the Minister ‘was burying his head in the sand’ refusing to acknowledge the huge deficiencies within Túsla as evidenced by the recent HIQA report which highlighted substandard provision of care for minors in the state, specifically in her own constituency of Cork.

Deputy McLellan said:

“The Minister’s response today was weak and disappointing. To say that Túsla is not in crisis and isn’t lacking in funding or resources is shocking. He’s simply burying his head in the sand on the issue. The reality is that reports have consistently shown Túsla to be in serious need of attention. A multitude of children organisations have echoed this sentiment.

“He mentioned today that there was a down ward trend in high risk cases with regards to children in need of social workers. That is to be welcomed, of course, but there was no mention of the number of those at medium to low risk. We are still facing a situation in this state where children in need of assistance and care, regardless of the placing of level of risk, are left without. We are still witnessing children on waiting lists of up to several years.  

“The HIQA report at the end of March stated the longest a child had been waiting for a social worker to be allocated was since 2010 while most of the others had been waiting since 2013.  Of the almost 5,000 cases referred to Túsla in Co. Cork, more than 1,000 had no allocated social worker, including 234 who were deemed high priority.

“I remain unconvinced by the Minister’s statements today that the issue of social care worker provision for minors in need is being addressed adequately.

“During prior conversations with the Minister, he had stated that there was a process of recruitment underway in the UK due to shortage of staff in Ireland. I would now like to know how many personnel have been recruited, and how many have been placed? Is that recruitment drive serving its purpose sufficiently?

“I am of the view that the Child and Family Agency Túsla will continue to reveal findings such as those of the recent HIQA report until the issue of lack of resources is adequately addressed.” 

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