Wednesday, 11 December 2019
Ceisteanna ó Cheannairí - Leaders' Questions
I welcome what the Taoiseach said. If it migrates into actual policy in the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, it will address some of the real concerns but the concerns are real. People involved in what is regarded as informal childminding are concerned that they will simply be put out of business. Families are concerned that the arrangements they have had for years with wonderful people will no longer be viable, so we need to be very clear about this. I have a particular concern about the proposal in the Government's draft childminding action plan to give a role to what are called "centre-based services". It seems to imply that centres such as crèches and professional preschools could be given a role to co-ordinate childminding. This is causing concern, particularly when we consider some of the difficulties those professional childcare facilities have caused in recent times. Will the Taoiseach undertake to have that discussion with the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs and open a channel of communication with childminders so that we can all be in a position to assure people that facilities, which are up to standard and provide quality childminding, will not be put at risk by some new bureaucratic and intrusive regime that nobody wants?