‘Wholly inadequate and shocking’ – Kilkenny TD’s response to Minister’s reaction over creche scandal
By COLIN BARTLEY
A KILKENNY TD and parent has criticised Tusla’s appearance at an Oireachtas Committee discussing the safety of Children in the early years sector.
Sinn Féin spokesperson for Children and Youth Affairs Kathleen Funchion TD said the child protection agency’s response to revelations uncovered in an RTÉ Investigates programme is “wholly inadequate and shocking.”
Earlier this week Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Katherine indicated she would like to give Tusla the power to shut down childcare and early learning care services if they are in breach of their license, or critical concerns are raised.
Minister Zappone released a plan which she said: “will strengthen child protection and quality requirements for early years services.”
However, Deputy Funchion is unimpressed with the Minister’s response and said: “If the Government was serious about improving standards and safety in the early-years sector, they should take big business profit out of the equation.
“Following engagements with parents of the children who attend the crèches in question, and as a parent myself, I found Tusla’s contributions today wholly inadequate and shocking.
“The Department for Children and Youth Affairs need to be more robust in their dealings with Tusla and they must stand up for children. This wasn’t the case today when we witnessed the Department expressing their unreserved support for Tusla.
“Tusla revealed to the committee that it does not have statutory authority to shut down unregistered crèches. Their only course of action is to write a ‘cease-and-desist’ letter, and if that is unsuccessful, they may proceed with legal action – which can take months.
“The state and Tusla have an obligation to ensure our children are being cared for appropriately and safely – particularly when parents are often paying what amounts to a second mortgage for care in terms of cost.”