Courts

Friday 1 August 2014

Mayo creche that left tots unattended to voluntarily shut

Caroline Crawford and Edwin McGreal

Published 05/06/2014|02:30

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Marie McGrath, owner of Sunny Days Creche
Marie McGrath, owner of Sunny Days Creche

A CRECHE which breached a range of HSE regulations, including leaving babies unattended, failing to garda vet staff and blocking fire doors with beds, will voluntarily close this month.

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The Sunny Days Creche in Manulla, Co Mayo, will close its doors on June 27. Last year, owner Marie McGrath pleaded guilty to 10 separate charges in a case brought by the HSE.

While the creche was given six months to bring its service up to required standards, the owner has instead opted to close the premises. Ms McGrath confirmed the closure to the Irish Independent. "We will close on June 27. I've notified all the parents. I just don't have a choice," she said.

The Sunny Days Creche was the subject of five complaints in seven years since it opened in 2006. Last year, Ms McGrath pleaded guilty to a litany of offences under the 2006 Pre-School Services Regulations including a number of serious safety breaches.

The problems at the creche came to light after visits by HSE inspector Breda Cloney. Babies aged four to 20 months were left unattended as the one staff member in charge of the baby room changed nappies in a separate room or carried other children to lunch.

In a hard-hitting report into the creche, Ms Cloney gave evidence of witnessing disrespectful practices to children which saw them repeatedly grabbed forcibly by their arms and shouted at when they failed to stand in perfectly straight lines.

Last November, Ms McGrath was ordered by a District Court to remove herself from the running of the premises and was given six months to do so.

The case remains before the court and will go to hearing next month.

Irish Independent

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