The Tánaiste has said allegations of children being mishandled and yelled at by staff at three Dublin creches will be given “highest priority”.
Eamon Gilmore said footage showing toddlers and young children being shoved into high chairs and shouted at “tap into every parent’s worst nightmare”.
The footage, captured by an undercover RTÉ researcher, also shows children being handled “abruptly”. The children’s daily report cards were also fabricated, meaning parents were not kept fully informed of how their child’s day passed. Parents were paying up to €1,200 per month for their children to be taken care of.
Complaints about standards at the three creches were first lodged with the HSE at the end of April when an RTÉ researcher working for Prime Time, who had been filming undercover at a creche for six weeks, made her concerns known. The programme is due to be broadcast early next week.
Parents and the creches were contacted by RTÉ in recent days and a Garda investigation has been launched. It is understood that one childcare worker has been dismissed and three suspended at Links Childcare in Abington, Malahide. Three more suspensions were put in place at Giraffe in Belarmine in Stepaside.
Standards at Little Harvard in Rathnew, Co Wicklow, were also found to be in breach of HSE regulations.
Links Childcare has said it is “extremely upset” at the poor performance of some staff, while Giraffe’s Simon Dowling has said it “is unacceptable and totally against everything we represent”.
Parents were called to a meeting at Links in the last week with Georgina Ahern, wife of Westlife star Nicky Byrne, attending with her sister, novelist Cecelia. One member of staff is no longer working at the facility.
The HSE said it received reports from gardaí on three childcare facilities on Tuesday. “The HSE will continue to work to ensure that these childcare centres are providing a high quality of care and that any shortcomings are addressed adequately,” it said.
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