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Ó Caoláin, Caoimhghín

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Children First Bill 2014

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Children First Bill 2014

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Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

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Snippet Contents:

I listened to the Minister's closing sentences. It is not about alleviating my concerns but about eliminating all of the circumstances in question. One should make no mistake about the fact that we will not get the chance to revisit this legislation in the foreseeable future if we are to exclude a reference to the childminder sector. The sector comprises a significant body of people right across the country who are providing daily care and oversight in respect of children in a variety of settings, but primarily the home of the childminder rather than the home of the child, although it is the latter in some instances.
It would be a major omission not to include a reference to childminders and childminding. I know this is the view of a substantial number of voices in the non-governmental sector, who have lobbied strongly in this regard. We are very clear in the amendment, tabled by Deputy McLellan, that we are not talking about including a relative of the child or children or the spouse of such a relative. That is not the setting and the Minister made reference to that in his response. We are talking here about children unconnected to the provider.
It is essential that we put into practice the oft-quoted reference within the Proclamation to cherishing all children equally. There can be no exceptions. If we allow this legislation to proceed without the inclusion of a reference to childminders, we will be failing abysmally. I will not be an obstacle to the passage of this legislation. It is important and I support it but it is deficient and will not have achieved all that it needs to and could achieve. These are the closing moments in which to ensure we pass on legislation that is truly worthwhile and inclusive. I urge the Minister again to reconsider the amendment in the name of Deputy McLellan.