Dublin creche owner to step down after RTE documentary findings

by Gary Ibbotson

The owner of numerous creches around Dublin is to step down from her position and take no future role in front line childcare provision as a result of findings to be revealed in an RTE Investigates documentary tonight.

Hyde & Seek Childcare is a family owned creche and run by Anne and Peter Davy and their daughter Siobhan and has facilities spread across Dublin that caters for children from three months old up to 12 years of age.

However, RTE says that it was contacted by several families who were concerned that their children were not receiving proper care while under the supervision of Hyde & Seek staff.

In 2004, Anne Davy was prosecuted and convicted when staff from their Tolka Road branch left behind a three year-old boy at a local playground. She was also convicted for a number of other regulatory breaches.

Upon receiving the concerns, two undercover researchers working for RTE Investigates successfully applied for childcare positions at Hyde & Seek – both were fully qualified childcare professionals and were vetted by Gardai.

While undercover, the RTE researches found many breaches of regulations such as management failing to ensure staff were Garda vetted, cots being so tightly packed together that workers found it difficult to provide proper care during nap time and child-to-adult ratios that were significantly above TUSLA guidelines.

On 75% of the days the RTÉ undercover researcher worked in the Tolka Road branch room ratios were in breach of regulations.

On a number of occasions this meant up to 20 children were left with one care worker for hour periods at a time.

RTE says that the poor practises witnessed by their researchers were not performed by staff employed by Hyde & Seek but by Anne Davy herself. This included how she interacted with and handled children.

RTÉ has reported its concerns to both TUSLA and Dublin Fire Brigade and continues to liaise with both bodies.

In a statement made to RTE, Hyde & Seek Childcare said it has been operating crèches for over 15 years and strives to provide a top quality child-centred service.

However, having been made aware of the findings, the company has confirmed that Anne Davy is stepping down and “will take no future role in front line childcare provision.”

In a statement, Davy said she acknowledged “that in recent months she has occasionally fallen below the standards of our behavioural management policy and has found herself being short, rather than simply direct.” Davy added that she “very much regrets this.”

You can watch RTE Investigates – Creches, Behind Closed Doors tonight, at 9:35pm on RTE One.

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