Ahearn calls for concerns of childminders to be addressed

The concerns of childminders in Tipperary in relation to the drafting of new regulations for the sector have been highlighted in the Seanad.

Senator Garret Ahearn spoke of the fears of those providing childcare from their own home that the new rules could force them to close.

He told Minister Anne Rabbitte if this happens it would leave families in Tipperary and across the country with a major dilemma in sourcing childcare.

The Fine Gael Representative wants TUSLA to differentiate between commercial childcare settings:

“While they all need to be held to a standard its important that the standards are specific to the settings. Childminders play a key role in Ireland and if TUSLA registration leads to a mass exodus in the sector there’ll be a lot of families in a difficult situation.

“TUSLA currently holds childminders to the same standard as childcare facilities – this is in no way practical. Childcare facilities are businesses in buildings that have been built and adapted for the purpose of providing childcare. Childminders working out of their homes need to be treated with the understanding that this is in fact a home.”

Minister of State at the Department of Children Anne Rabbitte moved to reassure childminders that their situation will be taken into account during the drafting of new regulations for the sector.

She said she was well aware of the vital role that childminders play.

“I could not have actually returned to work – I could be in the role that I am in without the support of a childminder. So to me this is very important that we get it right so that we can support more women in the workforce, more women that need flexibility and more women who might even get into politics because we have unsociable hours. So great care is needed in ensuring that we get the regulations right.”