Tusla will be able to immediately close an unregistered childcare service under proposals agreed by Cabinet today.

The Child and Family Agency, Tusla, will also be able to temporarily suspend registered services where there are concerns about significant risk to children and to share information on enforcement actions with parents.

The proposals arise from a review of the enforcement powers of the regulator, which was instigated in 2019 following a programme by RTÉ Investigates.

The programme made allegations of serious and significant breaches of regulations in three early learning and childcare services.

These changes will be brought in by legislative amendments by Minister for Children Roderic O'Gorman.

Cabinet also signed off on another step towards regulating more childminders and to allow for future access to the National Childcare Scheme (NCS) for parents who use registered childminders.

Currently parents can only avail of NCS subsidies if their children are cared for in a registered childcare service.

The aim is to bring more childminders into the NCS by 2024, although this deadline may not be met.

The new rules will cover childminders who mind children in their own homes and are paid to do so.

These type of childminders will be required to register with Tusla with changes brought in on a phased basis.

Childminders who work in the parents' homes will not be covered.

Bernadette Orbinski Bourke, Chief Executive of Childminding Ireland said the area was complicated and the changes needed to be proportionate.

Speaking on RTÉ's News at One programme, she said that a lot of administration would not suit many childminders who did not want creche-style regulations in the family home.

She urged all childminders to engage in the consultation ahead of any changes, saying they had a chance to influence their own sector.

We need your consent to load this rte-player contentWe use rte-player to manage extra content that can set cookies on your device and collect data about your activity. Please review their details and accept them to load the content.Manage Preferences

Childhood Services Ireland, which is an Ibec group that represents the industry, said it supported the "immediate and temporary closure of a service where there is serious non-compliance by childcare services".

CSI said "appropriate control mechanisms should be adopted to reinforce such powers" including "a defined list of infractions which may result in closure, a defined closure period with corrective measures highlighted, an internal sign-off process for closure enforcement involving higher levels of management".

It added that there also must be a right to appeal for childcare providers.

Additional reporting Mícheál Lehane