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Minister to be quizzed on childcare concerns

Also attending the meeting will be the CEO of the Child and Family Support Agency and representatives from Early Childhood Ireland.

Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald
Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald
Image: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

THE MINISTER FOR Children will be quizzed on concerns about childcare facilities and inspections by an Oireachtas committee today.

The concerns will be raised by the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children when it meets with Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Frances Fitzgerald and senior officials at its meeting today.

The meeting comes after a Prime Time programme showed footage from RTÉ’s investigations unit which showed controversial treatment of children in three creches. A garda investigation has been opened following the broadcast of the footage.

Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald commented last week that there has been “too much of a focus on building facilities and not enough on building children’s futures”.

Meeting

Alongside the minister, attending the meeting will be:

  • Gordon Jeyes, Programme Director Agency Establishment, CEO Designate, Child and Family Support Agency
  • Annie Callanan, Head of Quality Children and Families Services
  • Fiona McDonnell National Specialist Early Years, Health Service Executive
  • Irene Gunning, Chief Executive Officer, Early Childhood Ireland
  • Toby Wolfe, Acting Director, Startstrong.

Committee Chairman, Jerry Buttimer TD said that the committee will have an opportunity “to discuss our serious concerns about child welfare and standards in crèches”.

We will be keen to establish what will be done to unearth and stop bad practices, address poor childcare standards and reform the systems for childcare in this State. This meeting will be an opportunity to raise the concerns of so many parents and to make clear that enforcement of appropriate standards must be prioritised. Our meeting will also focus on concerns around vetting, inspections, enforcement, sanctions and regulation.

This meeting will take place in Committee Room 1 at 5pm and can be watched by members of the public by clicking on this link.

Read: Burton: “Questions to be asked” about privatisation of creches>

Read: Oireachtas Health Committee to meet HSE on creche issues>

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