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Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

Nationwide JobBridge ban for creche chains featured in RTÉ programme

The Department of Social Protection says no interns have been sent to the creches involved, and none will be.

THE CHILDCARE FACILITIES which were alleged to have abused children in their care on Tuesday night’s Prime Time broadcast will be barred from taking on any interns through the JobBridge programme.

The Department of Social Protection says it will not permit any internships at the facilities while they remain under investigation by the Gardaí and the HSE after the footage broadcast on Tuesday night.

The ban on any internships will extend not only to the three individual facilities involved, but at any facility operated by any of the three firms – Giraffe, Links and Little Harvard – who featured on the programme.

The Department said none of the three locations featured on the programme had ever taken on an intern under the JobBridge scheme, which offers unemployed people a weekly stipend of €50 in addition to their jobseeker’s allowance.

“Two of the firms have not previously placed any JobBridge interns,” it said.

“The remaining firm placed one JobBridge intern but not in the location featured in RTE Prime Time. This placement finished in April 2013.”

The Department said one of the general guidelines of the JobBridge scheme was that the host operation needed to abide by all its legal requirements, and to comply with vetting regulations were appropriate.

“JobBridge is subject to strict control measures to protect the intern and ensure the integrity of the scheme,” the Department said.

It added that it had undertaken 2,100 monitoring visits to check the validity of the placements offered under the JobBridge scheme, with 98 per cent of the visits being “of a satisfactory nature”.

“Any individual who suspects that an internship may be in breach of the scheme’s criteria – including quality issues, lack of appropriate mentoring and support, or cases of suspected displacement – may contact the JobBridge team. All such reports are fully investigated,” it said.

Earlier today, Sinn Féin’s Mary Lou McDonald had taken to the Dáil to criticise the advertisement of “no experience required” positions on the JobBridge website, including some locations where the intern would be working in the field of childcare.

“Our children are worth more than that, the parents of Ireland expect more than that,” McDonald had said.

Read: McDonald criticises JobBridge’s ‘no experience required’ childcare positions

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