A two-year-old child suffered terror on almost a daily basis for five months while in the care of a creche exposed by RTÉ on its A Breach of Trust documentary in 2013, a judge heard yesterday.
Barrister Michael Connellan told Circuit Court president, Mr Justice Raymond Groarke, in the Circuit Civil Court that when being taken to the Giraffe Childcare creche by her parents, Emilie Kiely used to plead with them: “No creche, no creche.”
Mr Connellan, who appeared with Carley and Connellan Solicitors for Emilie and her parents, John and Caroline Kiely, said Girraffe Childcare — which was responsible for the running of Belarmine Childcare in Stepaside, Enniskerry Road, Co Dublin — had offered Emilie a damages settlement of €23,000.
Counsel told Judge Groarke that Emilie, now aged six, suffered personal injury in the form of stress and emotional upset and terror over a five-month period between September 2012 and January 2013 in the toddlers’ room.
The court heard Emilie had been under the care of a certain individual who was abusive towards the children in her care.
Emilie showed signs of behavioural changes of anxiety and distress and when collected each evening was often withdrawn, red faced, tired, and would fall into a disturbed sleep.
Mr Kiely, in an affidavit to the court, said he and his wife discussed the problem with Emilie’s carer who reassured both of them she was receiving an appropriate level of care under her supervision. A month later, Emilie’s demeanour improved when she was changed to a new room.
Then in May 2013 he and his wife learned of RTÉ’s programme A Breach of Trust and viewed it in June and, while their daughter did not feature in any video footage, it showed the minder they had previously confided in behaving angrily and screaming at children.
Afterwards they made alternative arrangements for Emilie’s care and took out a claim for compensation on Emilie’s behalf.
Two years ago, Judge James O’Donoghue rejected a settlement offer of €15,000 from Giraffe Childcare.
The court heard Emilie first attended the creche at the age of eight months and was all right for the first 13 months. It was in September 2012 when she was transferred to the toddlers’ room that her personality changed after having been introduced to a harsh childcare regime for five months.
Judge Groarke, who was assured there was no serious risk to Emilie’s future psychological development, approved the €23,000 offer.
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