Shock at Links creche footage

by Gazette Reporter
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A childcare facility in Dublin North has become the subject of a major Garda investigation following an RTE sting operation which resulted in one member of the staff being fired and three others being suspended.
The investigation commenced after footage was obtained by a TV reporter who was working undercover at the Links Childcare facility in Abington, Malahide.
The creche is being investigated by gardai and the HSE, and is one of three confirmed independent childcare facilities in the Dublin area being investigated.
The video footage was shot by the RTE Investigations Unit as part of an expose on care standards in creches.
Last week, Garda sources revealed to the Gazette that Links Childcare in Abington, Malahide, was being investigated regarding complaints made against the childcare provider in relation to “certain activity”.
In a statement since released by Links Childcare, the creche said they apologised profusely to all the parents at Abington for the distress caused by this episode.
In an email sent to parents who currently have their children in Links facilities, owner of Links Childcare Deirdre Kelly said she was given the opportunity to view the video footage filmed by the undercover reporter for the first time on Wednesday, May 22.
She said the reporter posed as a childcare worker in the creche in Abington for a period of four weeks.
“We hold the standard of professional care of children in all our creches as a high priority, so I was extremely upset at what I saw,” she said.
“The behaviour of some staff members, as revealed by the video extracts, was wholly inappropriate, inexcusable and unacceptable.”
Deirdre said it was “most regrettable” that the undercover reporter failed to bring to the immediate attention of senior staff and management the behaviour of the childcare workers concerned.
“Otherwise, I can assure you that it would have been dealt with appropriately,” she said.
In a separate email sent to parents on Sunday, May 26, Deirdre said she was “acutely aware” of the distress caused by the events”.
“I know that you, the parents and guardians, are angry, disappointed and anxious. I share all of those emotions and so many more,” she said.
“I have tried to make contact by phone with each of the families directly mentioned in the HSE report, which I received on Friday but I know that the hurt goes way beyond this group.”
Links said a full re-training programme will be carried out at all their creches over the coming months and the number of CCTV cameras increased.  A psychologist has also been put in place to counsel parents affected by recent events.
The RTE Investigations Unit broadcast its investigation into the standard of care in a number of Irish creches on the Prime Time programme this week.
In a statement the HSE said: “The HSE, Children and Family Services received reports [last week] from the gardai regarding three independent childcare facilities in the Dublin area.
“The HSE are working with An Garda Siochana to review the reports and make an assessment with respect to any child welfare and protection concerns.”
The HSE also confirmed that creches in Ireland receive a visit from an inspector on average every 18 to 24 months: “This compares favorably with other jurisdictions where visits take place, in the UK for example, every three to four years.”

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