Tag Archives: Katherine Zappone

 Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Katherine Zappone

This morning.

Via Independent.ie:

Fianna Fáil wants a new Cabinet-level Minister for Higher Education, and to free up a position it has been proposed that the Minister for Education become the Minister for Education, Children and Youth Affairs, taking on responsibility for both the Departments of Education and Children and Youth Affairs.

Children set to lose voice at Cabinet as government talks continue *Independent.ie)


This afternoon.

Government Buildings, Dublin 2.

Via The Irish Times:

In a briefing to the media following Friday’s Cabinet meeting, Mr Varadkar said secondary schools and primary schools will reopen fully at the start of the school year.


He said it may not be possible for every pupil to attend every school for the whole day every day at the start of school term but the intention was to revert to that as quickly as possible.


Katherine Zappone, the Minister for Children, also confirmed that childcare facilities will reopen with “playpods” for young children, with up to six infants aged under one being allowed in a single playpod….



Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe meanwhile said that the temporary wage subsidy scheme will now apply to people returning to work from maternity leave, and from paternity leave.

Govt intends to reopen primary and secondary schools at end of August (RTÉ)

Taoiseach has confirmed schools will reopen at the end of August (Irish Times)

Earlier: ‘Behaving As Though Every Home Still Had A Stay At Home Mother’

Photocall Ireland


Previously: €44,000 Paid Per Private Bed In April

Minister for Children Katherine Zappone in the Dáil yesterday evening

Yesterday evening.

In the Dáil.

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Katherine Zappone said Ireland would look at the Norwegian model of childcare for the phase reopening of childcare.

She added:

Our preliminary guidance is pointing towards preparations whereby childcare will operate in pods. As far as possible, this will entail small groups of children with the same childcare practitioner in the same room with the same toys every time they are there. We are exploring the number of children that could be cared for by a single adult childcare practitioner. They will play together and will be encouraged to stay together in their pods and use outdoor spaces as much as possible.”

She later told the Dáil that “the pods plan” was “based on advice given to us by the public health expert”. It is not something that I am saying, it is the public health expert saying that.

And on facemaks, she said:

“Our preliminary advice is that the wearing of face masks by children under six years of age is unlikely to contribute to improved infection control. It may be the case that children would not use them consistently without a degree of reinforcement or coercion. This would not be desirable.”

Related: Ireland will look at ‘Norwegian model’ for reopening childcare (The Irish Times)



Kinsale, County Cork

A number of streets are being considered for pedestrianisation and a novel street pod concept, which could see diners sitting outdoors in enclosed pods, is on the cards….

Kinsale seeks reboot with ‘bold decisions’  (Eoin English, The Irish Examiner)

Transcript: Oireachtas.ie

Minister for Children Affairs Katherine Zappone ( above) and Tusla are heavily criticised in the leaked report.


The Sunday Independent revealed details of a leaked report by the Collaborative Forum on Mother and Baby Home. A report outgoing Minister for Children Affairs Katherine Zappone had refused to publish.

It detailed episodes of mixed race children who were subjected to “racial profiling” and ‘stripped of their identities’.


Tusla, which controls access to birth records from mother and baby homes and adoption societies, is accused of withholding personal information from applicants detained as children across various institutions on the grounds that to release it “could cause harm to the wider family members”.

The outgoing Minister for Children is criticised for transferring records from mother and baby homes to the child and family agency as “astonishing”, “regressive” and “insensitive”.

The “levels of anger, frustration and discontent” towards Tusla from survivors trying to access their records has “escalated to record numbers”, the report says. Their experiences of trying to find out who they are have been “damaging and re-traumatising” for the most vulnerable survivors.

The Adoption (Information and Tracing) Bill 2016, which is much criticised in the report, fell by the wayside shortly before the change of government.

The legislation attempted to address the rights of adoptees to their identity, while balancing the rights of natural parents to not be contacted. In the end, it could not be done. The minister was advised of constitutional issues with allowing adopted people unrestricted access to their birth information and attempts at reaching consensus failed.

The spirit of inclusivity in which the collaborative forum was founded has given way to feelings of exclusion.

Racial profiling, segregation like Apartheid – shocking report reveals racist abuse in Mother and Baby homes (Maeve Sheehan, Sunday Independent)

Last week: Tusla And The Silencing

This afternoon.

In Dublin.

Childcare workers and parents take part in a protest over pay and conditions in the sector.

Last week Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Katherine Zappone told providers that, following “legal advice”, they would lose State payments if they closed their centres in order to attend the protest.

However she reversed this decision following a public outcry.

Pics: Rollingnews June Shannon1916 Walking Tour and Gillian Brien PBP

Previously: And Your Little Dog Too

You Had The Power All Along

Dr Conor O’Mahony, the Government’s special rapporteur on child protection, Katherine Zappone, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs

This morning

Further to revelations yesterday that people under investigation for child abuse, including sexual abuse, will be permitted to personally interview their alleged victims.

The guidelines, according to Dr Conor Mahony,  who was last year appointed by Minister for Children Katherine Zappone as the Government’s Special Rapporteur on Child Protection, are a product of the “imperfect legal environment” Tusla operates in.

Via The Irish Times:

Dr O’Mahony, a child law expert, said the policy to permit the cross-examination of a complainant is a “position driven by litigation and not by Tusla policy decisions”.

He added previous court rulings had made it clear Tusla had “significant discretion” in determining how an alleged victim might be cross-examined by the accused.

Social workers must “stress test” allegations when interviewing complainants, the guidelines state, including by asking if there may be an “alternative explanation” or “misinterpretation on their part” in relation to the allegations.

If direct questioning by the accused is judged inappropriate, other forms of “stress testing” should be considered, including allowing the suspect to write out questions to be put to the complainant, allowing their solicitor to question the complainant, or allowing the suspect to ask questions via videolink.

Call for legal reforms around Tusla child abuse investigations (irish Times)


A petition calling for the immediate withdraw of these plans.

Sign here.

Yesterday: A Final Betrayal

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Katherine Zappone

This afternoon.

Further to public outcry, Katherine Zappone has revised her decision to not pay childcare providers who close their service in order to attend a protest next Wednesday.

That initial decision, Ms Zappone said on Tuesday, was based on “legal advice”.

This afternoon, a press release from the Department for Children and Youth Affairs states:

Having considered the concerns and circumstances of the Childcare sector, Minister Zappone has instructed the Department of Children and Youth Affairs and Pobal to authorise payments to childcare services who close during the day of protest on February 5th.

Payments will be made on condition that Childcare Providers find an alternative, suitable date for parents to avail of childcare services in lieu of the day that the Service is closed.

Statement by Minister Katherine Zappone T.D. on payments to Childcare Services for the Day of Protest (Department of Children and Youth Affairs)

Earlier: And Your Little Dog Too


Minister for Children Katherine Zappone

Twenty days ago, the Early Years Alliance announced its plans to hold a protest on Wednesday, February 5.

Thousands of providers are reportedly expected to take part.

However, Minister for Children Katherine Zappone on Tuesday released a circular telling providers that those who close their service in order to attend the protest will lose payments.

They’ve also been told that they cannot change their working calendar – to allow for the creches to close next Wednesday.

This morning. Paula Donohoe, of Clever Clogs Childcare in Ballyconnell, County Cavan, spoke to Seán O’Rourke on RTÉ Radio One.

Asked about the circular from Ms Zappone’s department and if she will still attend the protest in light of it, Paula said:

“Yes, in fact, the circular, as of Tuesday, has probably made me even more resolute…this is the reason, the very reason we are going out on this protest is the behaviour of the department, and the minister and her department that led to Tuesday’s action.

“What Tuesday, the announcement on Tuesday was that they will not fund the services. Now I get that, if you’re not working, you don’t get paid.

“But we have always been entitled and able to, under our contractual arrangements with the department, to change our calendar.

“As long as we run it by [inaudible] on behalf of the department, which is the county childcare committee. I have had to do this in the past. There has never been a problem. I’ve changed my calendar and I’ve never had to to give a reason as to why I had to change my calendar.

“I’ve changed my calendar, had it approved and re-issued a new calendar.

“The circular on Tuesday, or the announcement on Tuesday by the minister, was that we are no longer allowed to actually change our calendars.

“My intention always was to close next Wednesday, the 5th of February but to provide the parents and children of my service…an alternative day so the children to not lose out.”

Mr O’Rourke asked Ms Donohoe if her 25 childcare workers will now lose a day’s pay because of the closure in order to attend the protest. She said:

“Absolutely not. I’m fighting on behalf of my staff for a very long time, for very low waged professionals. So, in my case, I can verify that they will get their wages.

“Whether I get my Government funding or not, those girls will get their wages. There is absolutely no way I will punish them.”

Good times.

Department of Children and Youth Affairs FAQs on the proposed Early Years protest 5 February 2020 (Department of Children and Youth Affairs)

Listen back in full here

Crèches closing for protest rally to be docked State funds (Independent.ie)

Previously: How Much?

This afternoon.

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Katherine Zappone (above) is answering questions from the Joint Committee on Children and Youth Affairs.

It follows Elaine Dunne, of the Federation of Early Childcare Providers, telling RTÉ’s Morning Ireland this morning that many childcare providers were in immediate danger of closing due to insurance costs.

Ms Zappone said she has approved a “once-off Programme Support Payment” of an average of €1,500 to providers, costing a total of around €7million.

She said the payment will be made by December 28, 2019.

Ms Zappone said the recent insurance hikes follow the recent withdrawal of an insurance provider from the Irish market, Ironshore Europe, and confirmation that another could not be found.

The minister said, until recently, there were two insurance providers underwriting childcare providers and now there is only one: Allianz Ireland.

Ms Zappone said she acknowledges the situation is “undoubtedly” causing stress to childcare providers and worry for parents.

Creches scramble for insurance cover as premiums ‘double’ (The Irish Times)

Watch the meeting live in the video link above or here

Minster for Children Katherine Zappone

Yesterday evening.

Just after 5.30pm.

Minister for Children Katherine Zappone released a press statement saying the Adoption (Information and Tracing) Bill, 2016 will not allow for adoptees to automatically access their birth information.

In a footnote to editors, Ms Zappone’s press release states:

The Minister’s legal advice is that there must be some protection of birth parents’ constitutional right to privacy reflected in the legislation.

There are two rights at play, the right to identity and the right to privacy, and legislation must seek to harmonise these rights.

However, this advice is contrary to the desire of advocates for unrestricted access to identity information and to birth certificates.

In the accompanying press release, the minister is quoted as saying:

“I would like to sincerely thank those who have given me their views and opinions on this matter and who have supported me in my efforts to seek consensus to progress these matters.

“I am personally deeply disappointed that it has not proved possible to reach a consensus on the complex and emotive issue of the release of birth information and that this issue must be set aside for now.

I hope this can be progressed in the future, but my priority, for now, is to move forward with those issues on which there is general consensus.”

The press release can be read in full here

Previously: The Adoption Myth

‘To Ensure That It Can’t Be Found’

Related: “We Have The Right To Know The History Of Our Incarcerations”