Sunday 4 December 2016

Report reveals litany of risks at many crèches

Published 07/09/2015 | 02:30

Little child girl playing in kindergarten in Montessori preschool Class.
Little child girl playing in kindergarten in Montessori preschool Class.

The Irish Independent examined the available reports by Tusla for childcare services in 2015. The full details on individual crèches are available to read on the website www.pobal.ie/Pages/ HSE.aspx by clicking on ‘Pobal Maps’. This is a general summary of the findings for major towns and cities:

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Dublin

According to reports published by Tusla, 48 crèches have been inspected. The Irish Independent has found that only five of these crèches were fully compliant. The remaining 43 crèches had issues ranging from employing staff without Garda or foreign police vetting, to not carrying out fire drills or having their fire safety equipment inspected regularly.

Some instances were seen where children had access to chemicals for cleaning toilets. Nearly half the crèches which had non-compliance issues had problems relating directly to staff without the proper Garda or police clearance.

Cork

Forty crèches were inspected in Cork city and county, according to the published reports, and 14 were fully compliant. The remaining 26 had issues which needed to be addressed.

The issues ranged from things like staff without Garda or police clearance, to crèches operating without hot running water when they were inspected, to some that had staff without up-to-date first-aid training.

Some premises were found to be improperly heated. Staff without the proper Garda and police vetting featured in more than 65pc of pre-schools and crèches with non-compliance issues.

Limerick

The published Tusla reports show that 52 crèche facilities were inspected across the city and county in 2015. Nearly 75pc of those inspected by Tusla were found to be fully compliant.

Of the 14 found to have instances of non-compliance, some ranged from issues like children having access to a storage heater which posed the risk of burning them, to crèches not implementing safe sleep policies. Nearly 60pc of crèches which fell foul of the regulations this year had issues relating to employing staff without proper vetting from the authorities.

Galway

Only 24 Galway crèches have been inspected in 2015, according to the reports published so far. Sixteen of these have been found to have been fully compliant, meaning eight crèches in both the county and city had issues which needed to be resolved.

One crèche was found to not have had its fire-fighting equipment serviced since 2007, while others had issues with hygiene and infection control. Nearly 40pc of pre-schools and crèches in the county with non-compliances had issues with proper Garda and police vetting.

Waterford

Thirty of Waterford’s 84 crèches were the subject of inspections, according to the published reports. Seven of these were fully compliant, while  23 had various non compliances.

Some crèches had blind cords not attached to the walls, posing choking hazards to children. Others had unstable slides outdoors which children could use and some even had no record of the maintenance of fire safety equipment. Garda and police vetting was also a problem, with more than 50pc of crèches with non-compliances having specific issues with staff being vetted by the authorities. 

Dundalk, Co Louth

Of the 50 crèches in Dundalk, only one has been inspected in 2015, according to the published Tusla reports. Eleven of these haven’t actually been inspected since 2012, while the remaining 38 have been inspected during either 2013 or 2014.

Mullingar, Co Westmeath

Only six of the 33 crèches in Mullingar have published reports saying they were inspected in 2015. Three were fully compliant upon inspection. The other three were found to have had several outstanding issues, ranging from employing staff without proper Garda or police clearance to overcrowding and under-staffing in the crèches. Some 22 childcare facilities in Mullingar were inspected during 2014.

Co Sligo

Of the 62 crèches in Sligo, none have been inspected yet this year, according to the database Tusla provides. All, however, have been inspected in the past three years.

Tralee, Co Kerry

Tralee has 33 crèches listed by Tusla. Only four of these have been inspected so far in 2015, according to the reports provided. Some crèches had not got fully-stocked first-aid kits, while several had issues with Garda and police vetting.

Castlebar, Co Mayo

Castlebar has 22 crèches listed on the Tusla database. In 2015, only one of these has been inspected, according to the published reports. The remaining 21 have all been inspected at some stage during the past three years. The crèche inspected this year had issues related to the maintenance of its fire-fighting equipment.

Irish Independent

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