‘Extremely angry and upset’ – Kilkenny TD calls for investigation into ‘distressing’ creche programme
By COLIN BARTLEY
A KILKENNY TD has called on the Children’s Minister to act immediately on issues exposed in an RTÉ investigates programme on childcare provision.
Kathleen Funchion TD, Sinn Féin’s Spokesperson on Children and Youth Affairs, said: “As a parent, I am extremely angry and upset.”
The RTÉ Investigates programme ‘Crèches, Behind Closed Doors’ broadcast last night highlighted serious issues in one creche group, which operated without proper registration for over a year.
The programme showed toddlers treated appallingly, and in one case being physically held down to get the child to go to sleep.
Now Deputy Funchion has called on the Minister for Children Katherine Zappone, and the child services agency Tulsa, to adopt stricter controls in the Early Years sector, as it benefits from government funding via the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) programme.
The Kilkenny TD said the Government has taken a “laissez-faire approach to these services, which is not an appropriate use of taxpayers’ money.”
Speaking to KilkennyNow.ie, Deputy Funchion said: “The childcare facility featured in the programme operated without proper registration for up to fourteen months. It was not subject to regulatory inspections and checks during that time, yet it continued to operate.
“What is most distressing, however, is the shocking nature of the consistent breaches of Tusla regulations highlighted by the programme.
“I have to say, as a parent, I am extremely angry and upset.
“I found it extremely disturbing to watch those poor children and how they were treated.
“Children deserve the highest level of care possible, and parents should expect the highest standards. I am calling on the Minister to act on the findings of the RTÉ programme without delay.”
Deputy Funchion is concerned that some issues raised in the programme were highlighted nearly a year ago, but no action was taken. She is calling for an investigation to begin.
“We need to see the immediate closure of these creches while an investigation takes place, to ensure that children are being cared for in a safe, proper, and caring environment.
“It’s about time that this Government used the taxpayers’ money in the appropriate way, to ensure we have good quality, affordable, accessible childcare, that cherishes the workers, as well as the children.”
Gardai have confirmed they are to launch an investigation into the allegations made in the RTÉ programme.