Children’s Minister Katherine knew about problems at the Hyde and Seek Childcare creche a year ago Galway TD Anne Rabbitte has revealed.
The creche in Glasnevin was the subject of outcry in July after an RTÉ Investigates documentary showed abuses such as overcrowded rooms and children being held down to get them to sleep.
Anne Rabbitte has revealed correspondence obtained under the Freedom of Information Act which show that Minister Zappone was presented with complaints about the creche as early as August 2018.
Minister Paschal Donoghue wrote to Minister Zappone at that time to raise a complaint a constituent of his had made about the creche, and copied a copy of the man’s complaint.
The complaint said that the creche routinely breached basic regulations regarding ratios, safety and more.
“Minister Zappone wrote back to Minister Donohue on August 9th telling him that her Department took ‘any potential breach’ of the childcare act very seriously.”
“Why it took nine more months for this facility to be addressed, I don’t know,” Anne Rabbitte said.
It also emerged that the creche was not registered with Tusla until March 2019, some fourteen months after it opened.
“For fourteen months, this facility was allowed to provide care to children and pretend to parents that it was a properly registered, regulated service when it was in fact operating in the absence of any permission,” Deputy Rabbitte said.
“Were it not for this diligent member of the public who repeatedly raised the flagrant breach of regulations, who knows whether anything would have been done.”
“How many parents enrolled their children in this service in the 14 months it was operating without registration? How many more would have done so, were it not for the determination of this citizen.”
The Fianna Fáil TD said that it is disturbing to think that the job of identifying when childcare facilities are in breach of regulations is being left concerned citizens instead of the government.