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Hyde and Seek set to appeal after Tusla orders 4 creches to close by end of December

The company has said it does not accept the outcome of the regulatory process.

Image: Leah Farrell via RollingNews.ie

Updated Nov 28th 2019, 2:18 PM

TUSLA HAS ORDERED that four Hyde&Seek creches be shut by the end of the year. 

The creches that are to close are: 

  • Hyde & Seek Tolka Road, Dublin
  • Hyde & Seek Shaw Street, Dublin
  • Hyde & Seek Millbourne Avenue, Dublin
  • Hyde & Seek Glasnevin, Dublin

The company has 21 days to appeal the decision, and Hyde&Seek said in a statement this afternoon that it will appeal.

Tusla said that, as part of its commitment to greater communication in the early years sector, it is now taking the following steps:

  • It is publishing decisions to remove Early Years’ services from the register on Tusla’s website, tusla.ie
  • It is publicly communicating details of deregistered services
  • It is to consult with parents as part of the regulatory process in 2020
  • It will be asking providers to display their certificate of registration
  • It will be adding the date of inspection to the register of early years services to alert parents that a report is pending

Brian Lee, director of quality assurance at Tusla, said: “This enhanced public communication comes as a result of feedback from parents. While Tusla cannot contact parents of children in individual crèches directly, we can ensure that this information is readily and publicly available to assist parents in making informed decisions.

“As the regulator in this sector, Tusla’s role is to monitor the safety and quality of care and support of children in early years’ provision to ensure compliance with regulations. Where there are consistent and serious breaches, Tusla will take action up to and including prosecution and removal from the register of early years’ services.”

“The decision to remove a service from the register comes at the end of an enforcement process, during which a provider is afforded fair procedures. This decision is not taken lightly, and is a last resort which is used when as regulator Tusla cannot stand over the continued operation of a service.”

A spokesperson for Hyde&Seek said the creche chain will fight the order.

“We do not accept the outcome of the regulatory process,” a spokesperson said. “Since the airing of the RTE programme we have continued to work to ensure we adhere to the highest standards. We are very confident in the service provided at all four of our creches and will appeal this decision.”

In a statement, Minister for Children Katherine Zappone said that the safety and protection of children remains her first priority. 

“The de-registrations are evidence of Tusla’s robust approach in taking action where it finds evidence of non-compliance with regulations,” she said.

I have great sympathy for the parents who have their children in the crèches and who will need to find alternative childcare options. In addition to the distress already caused to parents by the poor standards evidenced, the prospect of losing their crèche is clearly a major worry for these parents. Officials in my Department have been liaising with Dublin City Childcare Committee and Fingal County Childcare Committee, to offer supports to parents who will be affected by the closures.

Fianna Fáil spokesperson on Children and Youth Affairs Anne Rabbitte said there is “little worse” for parents than sending their child to a creche that could be harmful. 

Rabbitte said she hoped this will spark increased government investment in childcare. 

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Hyde&Seek came to the nation’s attention after an RTÉ Investigates piece on Prime Time. 

The programme ‘Creches, Behind Closed Doors’, which was broadcast in July, found instances of poor staffing, breaches of fire safety and rough handling of children at three creches operated by Hyde and Seek over four months this year.

The revelations came about after undercover reporters, who were garda vetted by RTÉ and had appropriate qualifications in childcare, were hired by Hyde and Seek and had hidden cameras placed on them as they carried out their duties at the creches.

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