Minister: Creche operators were aware of fire safety regulations before now

Minister: Creche operators were aware of fire safety regulations before now

Childcare operators have said they are not prepared for new fire safety regulations and inspections at creches, but the Minister for Children Katherine Zappone has said they were aware of them before now.

Tusla wrote to all childcare operators this week requesting documents by December 12 if they want to continue operating.

However, creche operators say they are awaiting training in the new system, and feared it would lead to services closing down.

However, Minister Zappone said creche operators were aware of this before now.

Ms Zappone said: "It's my understanding that they would be aware that they are a registered service, that after three years they would be required to be re-registered and they would have been aware of that and Tusla have been communicating with them.

"Part of the requirement for re-registration has to do with complying with safety regulations."

She added that the news of the fire safety regulations should not come as a surprise to creche operators:

The Minister said: "It's not as if this has come about most recently, Tusla has been in ongoing contact with them in order to support that.

"Having said that, I think Tusla and myself and my department heard that some of them feel that they require more time and so we made the decision to extend the re-registration process."

The Government has now delayed introducing the changes until June next year.

Joan O'Sullivan, Chairperson of the Association of Childcare Professionals, said they want proper training in the new regulations before inspections begin:

Ms O'Sullivan said: "In an ideal world, yes it would be great to see the training happening and then the inspections. I would love to see everybody trained in the QRS before they get inspected.

"Tusla tells that they are going to do an unannounced inspection next Monday and they will be the standard ones, somebody could knock on your door and say 'I am here to inspect you'."

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