Settlements totalling more than €1m have been approved by the High Court for 22 children who featured in an RTÉ documentary about the alleged mistreatment of children at the Links Abington creche in Malahide, Dublin.
Payouts of between €40,000 and €75,000 each were yesterday approved by Mr Justice Kevin Cross for the children, some of whom featured in the footage shown in the RTÉ Breach of Trust documentary in May 2013.
The High Court was also told separate actions by the parents of the children who had sued for nervous shock had been settled on undisclosed terms.
A number of the chidren’s parents were in court as senior counsel read out the cases and the amounts of the settlement, including details of the alleged mistreatment.
The 22 children had sued the Links Creche Southside Ltd, Kinsealy, Dublin, and the Links Creche and Montessorri Ltd with offices in Rathmines, Dublin, along with the creche owners Deirdre and Padraig Kelly of Myra Manor, Kinsealy, Dublin, as a result of alleged mistreatment at the childcare facility Links, Abington, Malahide, which was the subject of a documenrary by the RTÉ Investigations Unit broadcast in May 2013.
The defendants had filed a full defence and denied the incidents recorded in the footage were representative of the level of care throughout the creche.
The settlements were made without admission of liability.
Senior counsel Sasha Gayer told the court that most of the children were under three years of age, pre verbal, and had attended the wobbler room at the Malahide creche. She said there were three categories of cases.
Those children in category one had been assaulted or shouted at aggressively or mistreated in some way. The incidents viewed in the footage came within the legal defInition of assault, counsel said. The six children in this category received €75,000 each.
Counsel said in one case a boy who had mobility issues was roughly grabbed and slammed onto a mat when he tried to crawl away during circle time. Another toddler was roughly picked up and dropped down again on a sleeping mat.
Those in category two could be seen in the footage witnessing or sitting beside their peers while they were being assaulted or shouted at.
A third category included those who were present but not in the footage but claimed they were treated in an erratic and inconsistent environment. Some were shouted at during mealtimes or circle time and one had a hand slapped and was cursed at for handling food.
Most children had exhibited high levels of stress around nappy changing time, had disturbed sleep, and one child when he woke up in the morning used to say “ no creche”. Parents had noticed behavioural difficulties in their children which stopped as soon as they were removed from the creche.
The court was also told that all of the children had made a good recovery and had not suffered any long-lasting effects.
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