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Interns ban for firms at centre of scandal

ALL of the companies at the centre of the childcare scandal have been banned from hiring state interns for their creches.

The move comes after the Irish Independent revealed that Giraffe Childcare had been seeking nine interns to work at its creches for only €50 a week on top of their social welfare payments.

The Department of Social Protection said that JobBridge internships would not be permitted at Giraffe in Belarmine, Stepaside, south Dublin; Links in Malahide, Co Dublin; and Little Harvard in Rathnew, Co Wicklow, while they were being investigated by gardai and the HSE. It also said the firms would not be able to hire interns for any of their other creches.

Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore, pictured, publicly pledged in the Dail that internships would be halted for creches accused of mistreating children.

"JobBridge posts will not be approved for any of those facilities named in that programme," he said.

JobBridge was set up by the Government to give work experience to people on the dole – and 61pc who have taken part have gone on to find jobs.

Only one of the three companies currently being investigated had previously hired a JobBridge intern. But the department said the intern had not worked in the creches featured in the RTE 'Prime Time' programme.

In the Dail, Sinn Fein deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald highlighted the fact that the JobBridge website was advertising "yellow pack posts" with wages of €50 per week for child care workers. "Our children are worth and deserve more than that and their parents expect better than that," she said.

PLEDGE

Mr Gilmore became the first cabinet minister to pledge that state funding – such as for the free pre-school year – will be cut for creches where standards are not being maintained.

"This Government will not tolerate a situation where taxpayers' money is being used to subsidise facilities where children are not being treated properly," he said.

He agreed with Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin that CCTV should be installed in all creches – given that only two-thirds have such monitoring at present.

Mr Gilmore said that there many very good child care service and facilities in this country which operate well.

"It is clear, however, that some of the operators have let the children and their parents down, particularly so in circumstances where parents are paying a hell of a lot of money to these facilities to mind their children," he said.

Irish Independent