Month: July 2019

Garda and Tusla Take Action in Creche Scandal

Tusla, Ireland’s Child Protection Agency, is linking up with the Garda Child Protection Unit at Mountjoy Garda to initiate an official investigation into poor and illegal standards of care at the Hyde & Seek Childcare chain that were uncovered by an RTÉ Investigates documentary that was aired last night.

The Tusla Social Work Unit has obtained, and handed over to the Gardai, a copy of RTE’s secretly filming of what was taking place at the creches operated by the Hyde and Seek company. This videotape includes footage of children being emotionally abused and badly treated staff at the creches included. Some of the breaches of legislation and required standards included:

  • Inadequate staff to children ratios
  • Garda vetting not completed prior to employment starting,
  • Poor food
  • Not enough space allowed between cots where children were sleeping

Gardaí in two Dublin stations are seeking all concerned parents to contact them at Mountjoy Garda Station as they seek to investigate operations at the Hyde and Seek crechés. Concerned parents are asked to contact Mountjoy Garda Station on 01 666 8600.

A group representing parents of the children that attended Hyde & Seek creches revealed their devastation and sorrow at what was revealed in the RTE programme and criticised Tusla for not providing the framework within which regulation breaches could not occur. It read: “Our trust has been betrayed. We call on all parties concerned to immediately address how this happened, and to credibly explain how they will make amends. It appears the current oversight system, even when it detects breaches, is inadequate to ensure the same, similar, or more serious breaches do not occur again.”

In a separate statement released yesterday Tusla said: “We recognise and share the serious concerns the programme raises about the quality of care within these crèches, but more importantly the impact of concerning adult behaviours on children. We have been proactively addressing areas of non-compliance with regulations in these crèches since 2018.”

Hyde & Seek Childcare, owned and run by Anne and Peter Davy their daughter Siobhan Davy, has four creches across Dublin City catering for children from three months up to 12 years of age. Prior to the documentary being aired Anne Davy was removed by the company from all activity involved the immediate supervision of children.

In a separate enquiry, Gardaí based in Mountjoy are investigating an alleged assault on a young girl at one of the crèches which is thought to have occurred earlier this month. No arrests have yet been made in this case.

Speaking in relation to the worrying revelations uncovered by RTE Investigates, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said: “I think I speak for everybody in the country when I say that I was really appalled by what we saw on Prime Time in relation to the way that children were treated. And I know that a lot of parents dropping their kids off to crèche or to preschool this morning must have been that little bit more worried or that little bit more nervous than they would be normally.”

Hyde and Seek will be facing a number of official investigations, many of which have already commenced, and possibly soome creché scandal compensation claims.

 

 

 

 

Wrongful Death Compensation Award of €170,000 for Widow

The widow of pensioner Martin Flannery, who died due to carbon monoxide poisoning has settled a wrongful death compensation action €170,000.

Mr Flannery has gone to check if the petrol generators were switched on to effectively heat a newly constructed building for his niece. The house was being heated in advance of a first fix airtight test.

However, Mr Flannery was discovered unconscious in the house, which was next door to his own hosue in Mayo, in 2015. An official inquest into the death of Martin Flannery (66)  recorded a verdict of accidental death.

At the time the coroner John O’Dwyer said Mr Flannery was merely helping his brother and his niece by checking on the house when the tragic incident occurred. Martin Flannery was found unconscious in a room at the rear of the property and despite efforts to revive him, he was pronounced dead after being taken to hospital.

In the High Court this week Mr Flannery’s widow Eileen, his wife of 42 years , took the wrongful death compensation action against her husband’s niece Laura Costello and her husband Declan Costello also of Kilkeeran, Ballinarobe, Co Mayo in relation to the accident that took place on September 11, 2015.

In the legal action if was claimed there was a failure to have any proper or adequate system of ventilation in place in the building. In addition to this it was claimed the house has been allegedly allowed to become toxic with carbon monoxide fumes and to constitute a serious hazard for those entering the premises. Finally it was also claimed there was an alleged failure to cordon off the house while the generators were in use and until the place had been made safe for those entering the house. The legal representatives for the defence refuted all of these claims.

The High Court was informed that, when the accident occurred, the house was at first fix stage in construction and had an air tight test scheduled for later that day. Prior to that test the house had to be heated and two fan heaters and an oil heater were put in place. These heaters were powered by two petrol generators as electricity had not yet been connected to the house. Both generators had been running for about an hour the night before. They had been powered off overnight.

On  September 11, 2015 the generators were turned and checked on again. Mr Martin Flannery had checked in the generators at 10.30am and was due to check on them again after bringing his wife to the local town. However, when the air tight specialist called to the house to complete the test at approximately 12.30pm he switched off one of the generators.

At this point in time he noticed a strange smell and became dizzy as he went upstairs in the building. Due to this he left the house but when he went back in he found Mr Flannery unconscious in a room at the back. He dragged him (Mr Flannery) outside to try and revive him. However, Mr.Flannery was later pronounced dead in hospital.

Justice Tom Cross approved the €170,000 settlement in the wrongful death compensation.