CCTV in creches poses 'huge risk' to children's privacy, says Early Childhood director

The director of policy with Early Childhood Ireland, Frances Byrne, is calling for Tusla, Pobal and the Department of Education to form a task force, with powers similar to Hiqa, to carry out inspections of childcare facilities.

CCTV in creches poses 'huge risk' to children's privacy, says Early Childhood director

The director of policy with Early Childhood Ireland, Frances Byrne, has said she would have worries over the placement of CCTV cameras in creches.

At the Oireachtas Committee on Children yesterday, officials from Tusla and the Department of Children said they believed CCTV cameras within creches were the "obvious solution" to alleviate child protection concerns.

At the committee meeting on the Hyde and Seek creche scandal, it emerged yesterday that 37 other creches are on a high-risk safety register.

However, Ms Byrne expressed concern about the use of CCTV cameras saying that it did not bode well for the issue of trust which was important in the relationship between parents and those who care for their children.

There were also privacy issues with parents able to see other parents’ children.

Ms Byrne said: “It doesn’t bode well for trust, we don’t have CCTV cameras in classrooms in schools.

“There’s also the huge risk that I’m dialling in to look at my children, but I can see your children as well, and we all know horrible things have emerged from the dark web etc.”

She also called for Tusla, Pobal and the Department of Education to form a task force, with powers similar to Hiqa, to carry out inspections of childcare facilities.

It is “a significant weakness” in Tusla’s powers that it takes up to 15 months to close down crèches or childcare facilities where there are issues.

“A better way has to be found that combines due process, but also allows them to act quickly,” Ms Byrne told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland.

Early Childhood Ireland represents 3,800 childcare sector members in preschool, afterschool, and full day-care provision around the country.

Ms Byrne said that one umbrella agency involving Tusla, Pobal and the Department of Education should be formed to expedite inspections.

She said: “Bring it all under one organisation, one set of eyes, a one-stop-shop.

“If there are child protection issues Tusla should be allowed to close down a facility immediately."

"There should be a task force of teams from the relevant agencies that could go out and make a decision about a crèche.

“Tusla’s powers need to be increased.”

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