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Joint Oireachtas Committee on Children and Youth Affairs: Issues Regarding Childcare Facilities: Discussion (31 Jul 2019)

Kathleen Funchion: I did not think it would be possible to be angrier than when I watched the programme but I am finding it extremely difficult in this meeting as I feel nobody really understands the seriousness of this. There has been very little mention of children or the responsibility that both the present organisations have towards kids. I am disgusted and it is not the first time we have seen Tusla in...

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Children and Youth Affairs: Issues Regarding Childcare Facilities: Discussion (31 Jul 2019)

Kathleen Funchion: If Mr. Lee takes it so seriously, has he met with those families in the past week? What communication has there been with them since this matter emerged?

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Children and Youth Affairs: Issues Regarding Childcare Facilities: Discussion (31 Jul 2019)

Kathleen Funchion: I have a list of 16 questions if Mr. Lee wants me to call them out.

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Children and Youth Affairs: Issues Regarding Childcare Facilities: Discussion (31 Jul 2019)

Kathleen Funchion: I will group them.

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Children and Youth Affairs: Issues Regarding Childcare Facilities: Discussion (31 Jul 2019)

Kathleen Funchion: Did Tusla contacted them or did they contact it?

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Children and Youth Affairs: Issues Regarding Childcare Facilities: Discussion (31 Jul 2019)

Kathleen Funchion: What contact has Tusla had with the parents affected by what happened in the crèches featured in last week's programme?

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Children and Youth Affairs: Issues Regarding Childcare Facilities: Discussion (31 Jul 2019)

Kathleen Funchion: Has Tusla contacted parents directly?

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Children and Youth Affairs: Issues Regarding Childcare Facilities: Discussion (31 Jul 2019)

Kathleen Funchion: So there has been no contact by Tusla with the parents affected.

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Children and Youth Affairs: Issues Regarding Childcare Facilities: Discussion (31 Jul 2019)

Kathleen Funchion: A simple "Yes" or "No" will do. Did Tusla contact the parents whose children were in the four crèches?

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Children and Youth Affairs: Issues Regarding Childcare Facilities: Discussion (31 Jul 2019)

Kathleen Funchion: I can understand that parents would contact Tusla but not that there is no communication between Tusla and parents to give them any reassurance, support or tell them what to do if they are in such a panic that they cannot leave their children in crèches. Is it correct that there has been nothing along those lines? The whole issue is that parents have contacted Tusla but that the agency...

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Children and Youth Affairs: Issues Regarding Childcare Facilities: Discussion (31 Jul 2019)

Kathleen Funchion: Tusla has not contacted all the parents in the four crèches.

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Children and Youth Affairs: Issues Regarding Childcare Facilities: Discussion (31 Jul 2019)

Kathleen Funchion: Apart from the staff working undercover for the RTÉ programme, did Tusla receive any complaints from staff working at Hyde and Seek? If so, how many?

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Children and Youth Affairs: Issues Regarding Childcare Facilities: Discussion (31 Jul 2019)

Kathleen Funchion: I accept that. I have raised early years childcare in the past. It is an area I am very passionate about, but there are times when difficult questions must be asked. Our job is to represent those parents and those children. We are their only voice because they cannot get direct answers from the Department or Tusla.

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Children and Youth Affairs: Issues Regarding Childcare Facilities: Discussion (31 Jul 2019)

Kathleen Funchion: That is not what people tell us. I have been inundated with representations from parents who do not live in my constituency but who are reaching out because they are trying to get information. They have been sending questions and asking us to please get answers. They are asking when someone will talk to or communicate with them? What will happen if the services in question close? What...

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Children and Youth Affairs: Issues Regarding Childcare Facilities: Discussion (31 Jul 2019)

Kathleen Funchion: For clarity, Tusla will meet with parents who want to meet------

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Children and Youth Affairs: Issues Regarding Childcare Facilities: Discussion (31 Jul 2019)

Kathleen Funchion: The childcare committees are the ones to do this. Have they a dedicated member of staff? It will not be the case that a person will call and speak to someone who has no idea what they are talking about; it must be an individual who knows that this is part of his or her duties.

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Children and Youth Affairs: Issues Regarding Childcare Facilities: Discussion (31 Jul 2019)

Kathleen Funchion: I thank Mr. Lee. I now turn to the Department. We are looking at early years childcare in the wrong context. Once profit is introduced, there will be 12 cent noodles and watered-down milk. We need to move away from this completely. This is more a matter for the Department than Tusla. The workers in the sector must be valued. Theirs is one of the most valuable jobs in society. We trust...

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Children and Youth Affairs: Issues Regarding Childcare Facilities: Discussion (31 Jul 2019)

Kathleen Funchion: I have one further question for the Department and one or two more for Tusla. In the context of the parliamentary question to which I referred, I am aware of parents who took their child out of a Hyde and Seek facility well over a year ago - before this controversy came to light - and raised their concerns with the various bodies. The parliamentary question was asked on foot of that. There...

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Children and Youth Affairs: Issues Regarding Childcare Facilities: Discussion (31 Jul 2019)

Kathleen Funchion: I have one or two other questions for Tusla. On the audit reports relating to childcare facilities that are published on the website, where parents are starting out on that journey and want to see which might be the best place, what is their timeframe? Are these reports compiled yearly? Is there information available in that regard? Ms McDonnell mentioned a consultative forum. Are workers...

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Children and Youth Affairs: Issues Regarding Childcare Facilities: Discussion (31 Jul 2019)

Kathleen Funchion: If a facility had a breach in 2017, would that information have been available in that year or when would it have become available in a report?

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