Sinn Féin Children and Youth Affairs Spokesperson Kathleen Funchion has said that the continued revelations of creches failing to register with Túsla highlights the need to address the fractured nature of the childcare sector and called for the establishment of a single agency responsible for management of inspections, funding, quality and curriculum.
The Carlow-Kilkenny TD also criticised the government over a lack of urgency to address the childcare insurance crisis which could force many childcare providers to close their doors permanently this Christmas.
Deputy Funchion said:
“Reports of creches operating without registering with Túsla, the employment of staff who are not appropriately qualified and insurance premiums threatening services are very worrying for the hundreds of thousands of families who rely on childcare services across the state and the government needs to ensure that this issue is a priority going forward.
“The fractured nature of the childcare system must be addressed immediately. There is little to no cohesion across the several different agencies and departments responsible for the sector.
“A crucial first step to solving this crisis must be to establish a single agency for the sector. This could be done relatively quickly if the political will was there.
“This single agency should be responsible for the management of inspections, funding, quality, curriculum and an expert-led rapid intervention team to take immediate remedial action when critical concerns are raised about a service.
“The lack of urgency from both the Department of Children and Youth Affairs and Minister Pascal Donohoe in dealing with the insurance crisis for childcare providers is a tinder box waiting to erupt in the New Year.
“Creche managers have told me they will be closing for good before Christmas as a direct result of not being able to find reasonably priced insurance for their services.
“Both Ministers Zappone and Donohoe must intervene immediately to find a suitable solution for the large number of service providers who cannot afford to keep their doors open.”