Fianna Fáil spokesperson on Children and Youth Affairs, Anne Rabbitte TD, has expressed her shock and horror at the conditions in Hyde & Seek créches which was documented on RTÉ Investigates tonight.
Speaking after the programme she commented:
What we witnessed tonight is very concerning for anyone who has a child in a childcare facility. We put complete trust in child minding services and parents should not have to doubt that the upmost care and consideration is provided to their children. It is very concerning to see one crèche in operation by this company opened in January 2018 but not registered with Tusla until March 2019, only after being taken to court did they register the location. Previous to this they had not been subjected to regulations and checks.
Deputy Rabbitte continued:
The company owner, Anne Davy, had previous convictions dating back as far as 2004 relating to child care services. Despite this she passed Tusla regulations to remain in a management role in a childcare organisation. I also have grave concerns over fire safety regulations not being monitored by local authorities at crèches. It’s important that there are regular inspections to make sure owners are adhering to regulations at all times and aren’t, as we saw tonight, changing room layouts, which then put children and staff at risk. Minister Zappone cannot ignore the findings from this investigation. Tusla were aware of non-compliance within Hyde & Seek créches but continued to allow them to provide childcare services.
Deputy Rabbitte concluded:
I intend to write to the Chair and Clerk of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Children and Youth Affairs asking them to hold a special sitting of the Committee to discuss this matter, and to request Tusla’s attendance at this session so that we can hear what steps it will be taking to ensure that such a breach of trust and responsibility does not recur within the childcare sector.