Fine Gael Dublin South West bye-election candidate, Senator Cáit Keane affirmed her commitment to providing affordable, high quality childcare for parents in the area at a Public Meeting in the Maldron Hotel last night. Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr. James Reilly TD, attended the meeting.
“I have been working for Early Years services and interventions since 1991,” Senator Keane told the meeting.
“I want to raise the quality of early years care and education for our children through increased training for staff. Childcare staff carry out such important work and I would like to see them properly supported. Every euro we spend on young people reaps an extraordinary reward and having the best trained staff in childcare settings makes a huge difference to children and to their parents, who can see the difference this makes to their children,” she stated.
“I also think inspections of childcare providers should be increased, but it’s vital that the inspectors are trained adequately to do this job,” she continued.
Fine Gael Senator for Dublin South-West, Senator Cáit Keane, has today (Thursday) called on the HSE to reverse the controversial decision to close the Small World creche in the Adelaide and Meath Hospital, otherwise known as Tallaght Hospital. The decision has been taken by the HSE in Dublin South-West.
“It has come to my attention that staff of the Hospital creche were informed of the decision to close the creche on the 14th of May by the Hospital Board. This news has sent shock waves through the staff of the creche and the wider workforce of the Hospital. The creche has been operational for over 11 years and provides good quality childcare for the working parents at the Hospital. I know that there are 50 children attending the creche, that has a total staff force of 12.
“Good quality, affordable and convenient childcare is vital for working parents nowadays and this facility in the Hospital is a wonderful initiative within the workplace. In the 1990’s while I was a member of South Dublin County Council, I instigated the establishment of the creche facility in South Dublin County Council, which became the first Local Authority to provide childcare facilities in a Local Authority workplace. I understand first-hand the importance of providing childcare facilities in the workplace and in particular, in such a large workplace like Tallaght Hospital.
“The new Child and Family support agency (TULSA) regulations for 2015 have not been published yet and these will afford the Small World creche and other creches time to comply with the new standards for childcare facilities. I know that many of the staff at the Hospital who use the creche start work at 7.30am and no other creche facility within a reasonably close proximity of the Hospital opens before 8am. The closure of the creche which is scheduled for August, would be catastrophic for staff at the Hospital who use it and for the 12 staff who work in the creche itself.
The HSE and the Hospital Board must consider the future of the small world creche and also protection of the existing jobs there very carefully.
“I know that the crèche is currently operating out of a Porto cabin on the Hospital site and that there are proposals from the HSE over the coming year to construct a new Ambulatory Care facility which would occupy the current crèche site. I am making the recommendation that, this facility should incorporate a purpose built crèche and I have already received an informal vindication of this recommendation from Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Charlie Flanagan.
I want to stress that I feel very strongly, that the creche should be retained and the jobs it provides be protected at all costs. I am calling on the powers that be; the HSE in Dublin South-West and the Hospital’s Board of Directors, to take swift action to ensure that this happens and that Hospital staff are communicated with any developments.”
The European Parliament Elections Amendment Bill 2013 changes current European Parliament constituencies. The changes follow the reduction in Ireland’s MEPs from 12 to 11. There will now be 3 MEP constituencies; Dublin, the South and the Midlands North West. There are currently four: Dublin, the south, the east and the north west.
The Bill amends schedule 3 of the European Parliament Elections Act of 1997 and changes European Parliament constituencies in the state. Of course the reduction means Ireland will one less representative in the European parliament which is not ideal as we have one less voice to represent Irish interests but the reduction is pan-European so every member state is losing members according to size and so forth. This legislation follows on from the Electoral, Local Government and Planning and Development Act of 2013 which allowed for the establishment of a committee to examine European Parliament constituencies and make changes to the current nomination requirements for non-Irish or UK nationals standing in European parliament elections here and this Bill includes the committee’s recommended changes to the constituencies as a result.
The Local Government Bill is a piece of reforming legislation currently in its second stage in the Seanad. As Fine Gael Spokesperson for the Environment, Community and Local Government, I am very interested in the legislation and spoke recently to the Minister in the Seanad on the topic:
We are here today to bring into being one of the most ‘radical’ changes we have seen in Local Government since the foundation of the State, The Minister has brought forward and set out a wide range of actions, to deliver reform across key areas of local government in order to address weaknesses, to enhance effectiveness and accountability, and to improve performance across the entire system. This Bill gives legislative effect to those proposals and I am privileged to be elected into this position (by Councillors) and given the opportunity to contribute to this important debate, on behalf of the people of Ireland for an enhanced Local Government.