Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald is to strengthen the supervision regime in Irish creches and childcare facilities.

Ministers approved the new regulations at this morning's Cabinet meeting.

The legislation will provide a statutory basis for registration of pre-school services and will introduce a range of new enforcement powers for creche inspectors.

Under the proposed system, all pre-school services will have to be registered.

Inspectors will be able to order improvements in childcare facilities to avoid registration being withdrawn.

The legislation will allow childcare arrangements for school-going children to be regulated for the first time.

In a statement, the department said the minister will be able to set qualification levels for the sector.

Minister Fitzgerald plans to bring the draft amendments before the Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children next week.