The standard of childcare facilities at all of Galway’s pre-schools, playschools and crèches is laid bare in the Health Service Executive West’s inspection outcome reports, which have been made public for the first time.
The reports, which are now available for parents to view online, catalogue a litany of bad practices, and in some cases dangerous practices, by some of city’s and county’s well known childcare facilities.
Most of the inspection outcome reports, of around 100 facilities in Galway, show full compliance with childcare guidelines, and others were found to have what might be categorised as minor breaches.
However, several of the facilities inspected had questionable practices – the condition of the buildings was dangerous in some instances, in others there were problems with hygiene practices that was putting children at risk, and others had inadequate ratios of staff to children, while in some cases the staff hadn’t been vetted by Gardaí to work with children.
The HSE only just published the Galway inspection reports online in the wake of shock and outrage over the treatment of toddlers in three crèches in Dublin and Wicklow captured by secret cameras by an RTÉ Prime Time investigation.
Some of the reports, seen by the Galway City Tribune, could cause disquiet among parents about the quality of care their children are receiving. The childcare providers responded to the concerns of the HSE and outlined measures taken to rectify the problem.
In one childcare facility there were insufficient staff working on the day, vetting procedures of staff were not completed and employee references for staff were not kept. The same facility was not meeting the basic needs of children on several counts including eating and drinking, nappy changing and sleeping.
Toddlers were observed being given “steaming hot food”; snacks were served directly onto table tops in all rooms; regular hand-washing by children was not observed.
Nappy changing facilities were “substandard” and the sleep facilities were “not adequate”. There was peeling paint in the baby room posing a hazard; “there was a hanging cord from a baby monitor and lamp within reach of babies”.
Staff at the facility, “did not always demonstrate sensitivity, warmth and positive regard for the children. In particular, a staff member in the baby room spoke with a raised voice.”
The building itself was in a poor state of repair – “communal areas and some rooms in the service were dirty and posed a risk of infection”.
For more on this story, see the Galway City Tribune.
Connacht Tribune tributes to loved ones
These past few months have seen so many communities left to silently mourn family members and friends, whose funerals they would have attended in such numbers, were it not for the current Covid-19 restrictions.
But those that are gone have not been, and will not be, forgotten – which is why we want to open the pages of the Connacht Tribune to you to tell their stories.
If you’ve lost a loved one, whether to Covid-19 or not, or if your community or organization or sports club is mourning the death of a valued member and friend, you can email us your tribute and we will publish it in our papers.
All you have to do it to click on the above link, and it will take you to a short set of questions which you can fill in – and then add whatever you feel tells the story of the life of your friend, family member or colleague.
You can email that with a photograph to us, to email@example.com or you can post it to ‘Obituaries’, Connacht Tribune, 21 Liosban Business Park – and please enclose a contact number in case we have any queries.
We sympathise with anyone who has lost a loved one at this awful time, particularly given that so many people were unable to mourn with them and their family in person – and we hope that this will help in some small way to show those family members that we are all united in grief, even from a distance.
This is an additional feature we are providing alongside our long-established weekly Family Notices section where loved ones are remembered immediately by Months Mind Notices and annual anniversary remembrances. You can contact our team for further details at firstname.lastname@example.org
WATCH: The Olivers to the rescue … again!
Father and son rescue team Patrick and Morgan Oliver were back in action in Salthill this morning, when they helped a swimmer who got into difficulty.
A member of the public raised the alarm at around 10.30am and the Coastguard sought the assistance of Galway Lifeboat who launched from Galway Docks.
Two members of the lifeboat shore crew made their way to the promenade to assist in the rescue.
Patrick and Morgan Oliver were fishing off Salthill at the time and spotted the man taking refuge on Palmers Rock about 200 metres from Salthill shore. They took him on board their fishing boat and brought him back to Galway Docks. Galway Lifeboat in the meantime was stood down.
The man was taken into the Lifeboat station where he received treatment for symptoms of hypothermia until an ambulance arrived.
Assurances given on progress of road, bridge and bus projects
From this week’s Galway City Tribune – It will take time and a lot of money, but the city’s network of major transport projects will proceed on schedule – that was the assurance given this week to councillors by City Council Chief Executive, Brendan McGrath.
Councillors had expressed concerns at their meeting on Monday about the slow rate of progress being made with major capital projects including two new pedestrian bridges over the River Corrib.
However, Brendan McGrath told the meeting that the timelines for the range of capital transport projects – while challenging – were reasonable, pragmatic and achievable.
“All of the projects are moving forward but we must adhere to all the procedures and the different stages that have to be complied with: we have no choice in that,” said Brendan McGrath.
Senior City Council Engineer, Uinsinn Finn, in reply to a number of queries about potential new bus routes, said that while the Council worked closely with Bus Éireann and the bus companies, the local authority didn’t decide on the routes.
Earlier in the meeting, Cllr Peter Keane (FF), asked ‘how it could take 63 months’ to deliver a pedestrian/cycle bridge over the Corrib even though the piers (old Corrib Railway Line) were already in place for the project.
“How can it take over five years to put a bridge like this over the Corrib,” he asked, after hearing that this €11 million Greenways-linked project would not be completed until 2026.
There is a snappier timescale for the Salmon Weir Pedestrian/Cycle Bridge – to be located adjacent to the existing structure on the southern side – with planning consent expected by next Summer and a completion date set for the end of 2022.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.