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File photo. Hyde and Seek creche on Shaw Street Leah Farrell/
Under fire

'Our trust has been betrayed': Hyde and Seek parents speak out after RTÉ Investigates programme

Meanwhile, Hyde and Seek it had taken steps to deal with “urgent issues” highlighted in the RTÉ programme last night.

LAST UPDATE | Jul 25th 2019, 2:18 PM

A GROUP OF parents of children placed in Hyde and Seek creches have said their trust in the creches was “badly misplaced” and has “been betrayed”.

The creche chain at the centre of the controversy sparked by the RTÉ Investigates programme last night has said that it is addressing “specific issues” quickly but added the “overall picture [the show] painted does not reflect who we are”.

Children were filmed being roughly handled in the footage recorded by RTÉ Investigates, and concerns were raised about fire safety, food quality, and staff to child ratios. 

Footage from inside the facilities was filmed by these undercover reporters, and some issues raised in Tusla’s inspection reports were also mentioned during the broadcast, including a lack of training and garda vetting and concerns about fire safety.

Anne Davey, the owner of Hyde and Seek, the company which ran the three creches, resigned yesterday ahead of the documentary, Crèches Behind Closed Doors, airing last night.

In a statement this afternoon, a parents group said they’d met today to discuss the programme and had been “devastated” by its content. 

“Furthermore, we trusted that the State, through the Department and its regulatory and oversight body (Tusla), would provide a framework within which the breaches of regulations broadcast last night could not occur,” they said.

It appears that the current oversight system, even when it detects breaches, is inadequate to ensure that the same, similar, or more serious breaches do not occur again. 

The group met this morning, with around 30-35 parents in attendance. The group said it doesn’t claim to speak on behalf of all parents who have a child enrolled in hyde and Seek.

They said that questions must now be asked whether the system is fit for purpose.

“Most pressingly, this question must be answered for the many thousands of children enrolled in creches and other childcare facilities around the country, who cannot ask it themselves,” they said.

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. 

Hyde and Seek’s reaction

In a statement this afternoon, Hyde and Seek said an expert external consultant will be sought and appointed to review its management structure and service. It will also seek to appoint a new manager at the Tolka Road creche featured on the RTÉ programme.

“We know we need to work to rebuild, retain and enhance the trust our parents have in us,” it said. “We have spoken to many of them in recent days and would urge others with concerns to contact us. 

We are available to talk to and meet parents at any time. We note that while the programme made criticisms of aspects of our service, it praised our childcare staff whose dedication, professionalism and kindness are central to the care we provide.

Hyde and Seek also said that it has taken steps to deal with “urgent issues”. This included fire safety issues and it said fire safety inspectors had confirmed issues regarding the layout of cot rooms had been resolved. 

“Our policy and practice is to abide by the staff ratios set out by Tusla, though we know that, as in most creches, this may not be the case at every moment of every day,” it said.

It said that while it disputed some of the detail of what has been reported, but does not dispute the “overall point, which is that we have work to do to ensure we continue to offer the highest standards of care”. 

RTÉ also highlighted that profits after salaries at Hyde and Seek of over €2 million in the past five years. The creche chain said its directors receive “modest salaries” and no dividends had been paid to shareholders in recent years.

Hyde and Seek added: “We have been in direct communication with many parents over the past week to discuss concerns they have and we would encourage any parents with concerns to come directly to us.”

‘Deeply shocked and appalled’

Reacting to the programme on Morning Ireland today, Zappone said she was “deeply shocked and appalled to see the children being treated in this way”.

She said she was “so concerned” that such appalling behaviour” took place despite “improved standards and regulations” in the sector and enforcement regulation from Tusla, the Child and Family Agency. today revealed further issues discovered by Tusla inspectors at the three facilities in question, including concerns about a loose blind cord, faecal matter on mattresses, and medicine administered to a child without evidence of parental consent, as well as fire safety issues being flagged four years ago

In a statement released after the documentary aired, Tusla said the “distressing” footage “will undoubtedly cause upset and anxiety for parents/guardians and the general public”.

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.

When contacted by for comment, An Garda Síochána said it is “aware of issues raised by the RTE Primetime programme”.

“If any parent or guardian has any concerns in relation to this matter they can contact the gardaí at Mountjoy Garda Station on 01-666 8600 or Pearse Street 01-666900.”

A spokesperson for Tusla said: “Tusla can confirm that the footage received from RTÉ today in relation to the crèches named in RTÉ’s programme was of serious concern and will lead to enhanced regulatory enforcement proceedings, and social work intervention which will involve An Garda Siochana.

Anyone who wishes to report a child protection concern can contact their local duty social work office – details available at: or the Child Protection Unit at Mountjoy Garda Station on 01 666 8600.

With reporting from Órla Ryan, Stephen McDermott and Adam Daly 

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