Closing down creches at short notice ‘not in interests of families’

Official will tell committee of ‘inconvenience’ to parents who rely on services

A senior official in the Department of Children is expected to address an Oireachtas committee on non-compliance in childcare centres. File photograph: iStock

A senior official in the Department of Children is expected to address an Oireachtas committee on non-compliance in childcare centres. File photograph: iStock

 

A senior official in the Department of Children is expected to tell an Oireachtas committee that it would not be in the interests of children or parents if Tusla closed down services immediately whenever they observe non-compliance in a childcare centre.

Assistant secretary-general Bernie McNally is due to appear before the Oireachtas Committee on Children on Wednesday morning following an undercover investigation that revealed a pattern of disturbing practices in a chain of Hyde & Seek Dublin creches.

In her opening statement to the committee, seen by The Irish Times, she says “parents rely on the continued operation of services in order to go to work every day”.

“Closing down a service at short notice can cause enormous inconvenience to families,” she says.

According to her opening statement, Ms McNally will say the RTÉ Investigates programme was “deeply distressing for all of us to watch”.

“The appalling mistreatment of children and the terrible management practices were unacceptable and inexcusable. I know that Tusla, in collaboration with the Garda and the fire safety authorities, are pursuing those responsible.”

Ms McNally will outline that although the department believes the vast majority of early learning services are safe, the “actions we saw in the RTÉ programme were, we believe, a horrific exception”.

“But one case such as this is one case too many and we are working extremely hard with Tusla, and via other means, to ensure that all children have access to loving and nurturing services, and to ensure that services which do not meet required standards are closed down as soon as legally possible.”