My Department has been made aware that a prosecution was brought in relation to the unregistered operation of an early learning and care setting by the provider in question. In relation to this case, Tusla has assured me that appropriate investigations were carried out in line with procedures and within the shortest possible timeframes.
An applicant can be refused registration or de-registered by Tusla, the Statutory regulator, if the applicant has been convicted of an offence under Part VIIA of the Child Care Act 1991. In this case the courts applied the Probation Act and so the early years provider was not convicted. The provider was therefore able to continue to operate other early learning and care settings.
As the independent Statutory regulator, Tusla exercises its regulatory powers to respond to breaches of Regulations within its remit while respecting fair procedures and natural justice. My Department is examining the possibility of giving additional powers to the Tusla Early Years Inspectorate, including the power to close a service immediately where it has failed to register.