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Hyde and Seek creches at centre of controversy now hiring new staff

The company came to the nation’s attention last summer following an RTÉ Investigates piece on Prime Time.

Image: Sam Boal via RollingNews.ie

HYDE & SEEK, the childcare company at the centre of a controversy following an RTÉ Investigates programme, is seeking to hire new staff.

The company came to the nation’s attention last summer following an RTÉ Investigates programme ‘Creches, Behind Closed Doors’, which was broadcast in July. The company’s owners deny any wrongdoing. 

In November, Tusla ordered that four Hyde & Seek creches be shut by the end of the year. Those creches were:

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

However, the creches remain open, because the District Court has granted a stay on the de-registration of the creches by Tusla. 

This week, Hyde & Seek began advertising vacancies in permanent positions for early years practitioners and Montessori teachers. 

In the job description for the early years practitioner role, Hyde & Seek says: “Our aim is to deliver the highest quality care and education for children possible. We constantly support our children to develop new skills, while enabling them to feel comfortable and confident as they move on to their next step of development. 

“We recruit the best and most passionate people who are committed to making a difference in children’s lives, help them grow and develop for the future.”

For both positions, candidates’ details will be submitted for Garda vetting. 

Candidates who completed their qualifications outside of Ireland must have a qualification that is on the list of recognised qualifications by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs or have a letter from the Department confirming they can work in childcare in Ireland. 

It was not specified which of the four Dublin creches those hired will work in. 

The company and Siobhan and Anne Davy have been accused of regulatory offences under the Child Care Act 1991 (Early Years Services) Regulations 2016.

Earlier this month, the trial was put back by four months to allow for technical examination of video evidence. Their non-jury trial had been due to start on 3 February at Dublin District Court. However, Judge Anthony Halpin agreed to set a new trial date of 15 June. 

Siobhan and Anne Davy deny the charges. If convicted they could face fines of up to €120,000.

The court has also granted a stay on the de-registration of the creches by Tusla. This means the four creches can remain open for the time being.

In a statement to TheJournal.ie, Tusla explained that when it proposes to remove a service from the register of early years’ services, the service has 21 days to appeal the decision in the District Court. 

“In this instance, the court expressly directed that no steps were to be taken to remove the service from the register until the determination of the appeal and prosecutorial proceedings,” Tusla said. 

“While Tusla has used the highest enforcement power available as a regulator and prosecutorial body, we must abide by the courts direction. This means that the service can remain on the register and continue to operate pending the outcome of these proceedings.” 

Siobhan Davy was accused that, being a director of Hyde and Seek Glasnevin Ltd, on 11 April, 23 May and 27 July  last, at the premises on Finglas Road, Dublin, she permitted two staff members to work directly with children while not in possession of documentary evidence confirming they held minimal educational awards.

She faced a summons for permitting staff to wake a child by holding a wet cloth their face on 10 July last.

She was also accused of allowing one staff member to supervise nine babies in contravention of safety ratios on 8 July last.

The company itself was accused of not having documentary evidence of staff having a major award qualification in early childcare, on dates between April and July. It is also accused of permitting the use of a wet cloth to wake a child.

Owner and director Anne Davy was accused of allowing eight staff members work at Hyde and Seek Creche and Montessori without appropriate Garda vetting on 19 July last; and providing inadequate space with 46 children present on 11 September, and 37 children present on 19 July  last, when only 32 were sanctioned at the creche.

Hyde & Seek was contacted by TheJournal.ie for comment.

With reporting by Tom Tuite

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