Concerns have been raised after the revelation this morning that there are 37 crèches described as ‘critical’ on Tusla’s risk register.
Representatives from Tusla appeared before the Joint Committee on Children and Youth Affairs today to discuss last week’s RTÉ Investigates programme.
In response to a question by Galway East TD Anne Rabbitte, it was revealed that on Tusla’s risk register, which has four levels, 37 crèches are at the highest level of ‘critical’.
“We weren’t provided with a breakdown of what type of services, so we don’t know if they’re full day or half day, or indeed where they are in the country,” said the Fianna Fáil TD following the meeting.
She said that it is clear that Tusla doesn’t have the adequate powers to deal with crèches which are in breach of regulations.
“There’s no sense of openness or transparency in the current inspection system,” she said. “Parents are left in the dark if a crèche isn’t adhering to the regulations because Tusla doesn’t have any legal powers to tell parents or to force crèches to tell them either.”
To provide parents with peace of mind, the Galway TD called on all crèches to let parents know where they can access their inspection reports and said that crèches should voluntarily let parents know if they’re in breach of regulations and what steps are being taken to address the issues concerned.
“Transparency is key here and at least then, parents can make an informed decision as to what they feel is best for their child.
“There’s an even greater sense of urgency around this now and it’s vital the relevant amendments to legislation are tabled as soon as possible.
“This is something I would be aiming to do once the Dáil returns in September,” added Deputy Rabbitte.