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Shortall, Róisín

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Crèche Inspections

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Deputy Róisín Shortall

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Róisín Shortall

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Snippet Contents:

We have always known the first five years are the most important in a person's life. It is the time when the future emotional, social and educational well-being is laid down. It is, however, the area that receives the least support and investment and for which there is the least political responsibility. That has been the case with successive Governments and, unfortunately, it appears it is still the case.
During the boom, the expansion of child care services was largely determined by the needs of the labour market. It became a numbers game and the welfare and best interests of children were secondary. The State can no longer afford to abdicate its responsibility in this area. While I do not question the personal commitment of the Minister to this area, it is simply not good enough to say the new agency will take responsibility for all of this. When will we ever see this new agency?
Action is needed now and we cannot afford to delay this any further. Four things must happen immediately: registration and not just notification should be mandatory, an inspection service must be provided in every county, all inspection reports must be put up online and State support must be conditional on meeting minimum standards in respect of ratios and qualifications. Where they are not met, State funding must be withdrawn and the facilities closed. We cannot afford to allow our children to be abused in the manner we saw last night any longer. Action must be taken.