I propose to take Questions Nos. 293, 294 and 449 together.
There is at present no system of statutory regulation for play therapists in Ireland.
CORU is Ireland’s multi-profession health regulator. It was established under the Health and Social Care Professionals Act 2005. CORU is responsible for the regulation of the 17 professions designated by the Act.
Section 4 of the Act provides that, following a consultation process and with the approval of the Houses of the Oireachtas, I, as Minister for Health, may make regulations designating a health or social care profession not already contained in the Act. My primary consideration in the regulation of other professions is the protection of the public and in this regard I have asked CORU to facilitate a risk assessment of the principal health and social care professionals seeking regulation. This risk assessment will include play therapists. I expect the assessment to be completed by mid 2019 and it will then inform the decisions I make regarding the future regulation of any further professions.
It should be noted, however, that while play therapists are not currently subject to professional statutory regulation, they are subject to a range of legislation and regulation, similar to other service providers, including consumer legislation, competition, contract and criminal law. It is open to persons to contact a solicitor should they wish to pursue these avenues.