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Creches near Hyde and Seek 'inundated' with calls from parents asking for a place

Up to 45 calls have been made to different childcare places in the vicinity after last night’s RTÉ programme.

Childcare facilities have received calls from parents looking to move their children from Hyde and Seek.
Childcare facilities have received calls from parents looking to move their children from Hyde and Seek.
Image: Shutterstock/NadyaEugene

CHILDCARE FACILITIES IN the Dublin 9 area have received up to 45 calls from parents whose children are in Hyde & Seek looking to move, but no spaces are available. 

The RTÉ Investigates programme ‘Creches – Behind Closed Doors’ aired last night and since then, parents have been in contact with several childcare establishments in the area to see if there is space. 

Owner of Cuddles ‘n Care in Drumcondra Helena Fitzmaurice told TheJournal.ie that she has received many calls but her creche is completely booked up until Summer 2020. She caters for 35 children. 

“I have been inundated with calls since yesterday. It’s a desperate and dreadful situation for parents to be in, especially because there are no places available,” said Fitzmaurice.

“A lot of the parents have no choice but to stay with the facility, but they say they are working on it.

“The facility is in the minority and are giving the rest of us a bad name.”

Hyde & Seek has four childcare facilities across Dublin in Glasnevin, Drumcondra, Shaw Street and Millbourne. Last night’s programme showed footage of children being roughly handled, yelled at and tightly packed together in cots during nap time. 

Concerns were raised about fire safety, food quality and staff-to-child ratios. The chain caters for children aged three months to five years. 

Hyde & Seek has since said it is addressing “specific issues” quickly. The owner Anne Davy resigned from her position yesterday morning before the documentary was aired. 

A statement from the company this afternoon stated that an external consultant will be sought to review its management structure and service. A new manager will also be appointed to the Tolka Road facility. 

Source: RTÉ - IRELAND’S NATIONAL PUBLIC SERVICE MEDIA/YouTube

Parents devastated

It is understood that a number of parents removed their children from Hyde & Seek facilities last week after being informed that the creche was subject to an RTÉ Investigates programme. 

The parents of children placed in Hyde & Seek childcare released a statement earlier today. The group said they had met to discuss the programme and were “devastated” by what they saw. 

“We trusted the creche to provide the standards of care it advertised and undertook to provide, at all times, and from all carers. This trust was badly misplaced,” the statement 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 asked for the parties concerned to immediately address how this happened and explain how they will make amends. Families have been scrambling to find alternative childcare, creating logistical challenges on top of the emotional impact. 

Anne Fitzmaurice from Fairview Creche in Clontarf said they have been contacted by five or six parents in the past day asking to move their children from Hyde & Seek. 

“It was frightening to think about the ratios and one person being left with all those children,” Fitzmaurice said. 

This facility is full until July 2020 so they have no room to take in any more children.

Issues previously addressed

Fiona Henry spoke on RTÉ’s Liveline earlier today to discuss her experience with Hyde & Seek. She told TheJournal.ie that she couldn’t believe they were still dealing with the same issues she had brought up six years ago. 

I was on my holidays in Spain when I saw a post about RTÉ Investigates and I thought, ‘Oh my God, that’s the same company I complained about.’

Her two sons were in the Tolka Road facility in 2013. Her youngest son, Jack, was just one at the time. 

Henry became concerned about a high staff turnover and large children-to-staff ratios and sent these complaints to Tusla. After an inspection was completed, Henry said that she was asked by the owners to move her son from the facility. 

“I only got involved because nothing was changing… It was really awful to watch the documentary,” said Henry. 

Another mother spoke on RTÉ’s Liveline whose child is currently in a Hyde & Seek facility. She said she was not tempted to remove her daughter after seeing the footage on last night’s programme.

“The footage last night was distressing for me to watch and it speaks for itself, but our experience has been nothing but positive,” she said. 

“I never witnessed anything like I saw on the footage last night.”

Investigation

Tusla has confirmed since the programme aired that an investigation has been opened from the Garda Child Protection Unit into the issues raised. 

The representative body for independent early education and childcare providers Seas Suas said they were shocked by the programme and they expect authorities to take appropriate action. 

 “It is important to point out that the vast majority of creches are well run, caring environments where children receive an excellent early education, aiding their social and cognitive development and giving them the best possible start in life,” the group said in a statement. 

“Communication with parents is very important and creche management should operate a very open policy in this regard.” 

Parents who believe their children are affected can contact gardaí at Mountjoy on 01 666 8600. 

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