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.