Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald has said allegations of mistreatment of young children in crèches are “deeply disturbing”.

Ms Fitzgerald said official inspection reports for crèches would start to be made available online “within a couple of weeks”.

She said it was only proper that parents should have access to such reports.

She said wanted a thorough and comprehensive investigation into any child protection issues that might arise from a forthcoming programme by the RTÉ Investigations Unit.

RTÉ plans to broadcast the programme next week. The programme discovered alleged mistreatment of young children at three crèches in the Dublin area.

The HSE and Gardai have launched investigations into the claims.

Ms Fitzgerald said there was a need to focus more on the experiences of children under the age of 5. She said she had established an 'early years' advisory group that would report by the middle of the year.

On the matter of vetting she said we should arrive at a situation where everybody employed by a crèche is vetted beforehand.

She said 25 extra staff had been recruited to the Gardaí in order to reduce delays in vetting.