A statement from Garda, the Irish police force, said, ‘Garda are carrying out an investigation into reports of the mistreatment of children at a crèche in North County Dublin and also into alleged mistreatment of children at a crèche in south county Dublin.’
Reports suggest that one of the nurseries is operated by Giraffe Childcare and Early learning Centres, one of the largest childcare providers in Ireland.
The HSE, the equivalent of Ofsted, which inspects settings that cater for children aged from birth to six in Ireland, said that it received reports yesterday from the Garda regarding three independent childcare facilities in the Dublin area.
‘HSE Children and Family Services are working with the Garda Siochana to review the reports and make an assessment with respect to any child welfare and protection concerns.
‘As this process is ongoing, it would be inappropriate to make any further comment at this time.’
Reports claim that the Garda were made aware of the alleged mistreatment of children at the settings by a TV researcher posing as a practitioner for a programme about standards in childcare for Irish news channel RTE.
Allegations are thought to include shouting at children and physical restraint.
They also suggest that the researcher is thought to have visited Giraffe Childcare’s nursery at Belarmine in Stepaside and Links Childcare Creche at Abington in Malahide.
Nursery World contacted Giraffe Childcare and Links Childcare for a comment, but has not received a response.
The organisation Early Childhood Ireland, which is to appear in the RTE programme, said, ‘Parents from around the country, who have children in services will undoubtedly feel concerned and anxious.
‘The visual images will no doubt leave many parents very anxious about their child’s learning journey and well-being in pre-school, and in turn create worry and concern for childcare staff and operators.’
Early Childhood Ireland is advising its members to stop and consider what steps they need to take to look after the needs of children, their parents and all staff over the next few days.