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'Tusla needs to be more supportive of créches'


Brian Lee, Director of Quality Assurance with Tusla

Brian Lee, Director of Quality Assurance with Tusla

Arthur Carron

Brian Lee, Director of Quality Assurance with Tusla

Bright Beginnings, 25 The Crescent, Broadale, Douglas, Co Cork: An inspection in May found the créche to have 27 instances of noncompliance, including documentation issues and understaffing.

Mairead Davis O'Toole (42) - who has been running the service since 1993 - told the Irish Independent she was disappointed the report never mentioned that "we've never had any complaints...a complaint has never gone to the health board about [either] me or the school."

Regarding the overcrowding noted in the report, Ms Davis O'Toole said: "The day they came to visit us, was the end-of-year school day so we had the class photographer in - everyone on the school list came in to get their photo." The report does note that class photographs contributed to the number of children on the premises.

Ms Davis O'Toole added: "I think they are picking on very slight things."

All noncompliances related to Bright Beginnings have been, or are in the process of, being remedied according to an action plan penned by Bright Beginnings Montessori and published by Tusla, dated July 3, 2015.

On Cloud Nine Créche, 2 Assumption Villas, Mullingar, Co Westmeath

A TUSLA report from April found 66 instances of noncompliance - including issues relating to overcrowding, spacing and documentation.

Anna Gavin (54), owner and manager, criticised the report's findings. "On that particular day, there was a member of staff off sick… I explained that to [the inspector]."

Overcrowding, she insisted, was not an issue at her créche.

"It's very hard if you have a mother ringing you saying 'I've been called into work, I know [my child] is not booked in today, but I've nobody else to look after her, can you take her in for me for a couple of hours?'

"Parents who've been with you three or four years, you're not going to turn around and say : 'No, I can't do that'."

Ms Gavin said: "Tusla needs to be more supportive and not just walk into a room as this big presence.

"It's very frightening for the children, and staff immediately [are put] under pressure."

Ms Gavin has been in consultation with early child care specialists and has been implementing changes to bring it towards full compliance.

Carbury Place Montessori & Nursery, Blackrock, Co Dublin

An inspection carried out by Tusla in March of this year noted 44 instances of non-compliance.

The inspector noted not enough cots for babies under two, not enough monitoring of room temperature, and incorrect sleeping positions. Duvets and fleece blankets were used which the inspector claimed could pose an 'overheating' risk for the under-twos.

Carbury Place managers declined to comment but provided the Irish Independent with a copy of a follow-up inspection that occurred in June and has not yet been published on Tusla's website. The inspector reported a number of improvements, including that sleep conditions had been improved.

In correspondence with Tusla following this inspection, Carbury Place said: "Our sleeping arrangements were always considered compliant in previous inspections. This is a new interpretation of the rules ... Due to a change in the interpretation of these rules we have had to implement some changes. This we have done quickly and as thoroughly as possible."

Irish Independent