Hyde and Seek: Crèche chain at centre of RTÉ expose to hire external consultants, gardaí also launch investigation
Hyde and Seek, the crèche chain at the centre of last night’s damning television expose, is to hire external consultants to look at its service.
The Garda Child Protection Unit is also investigating concerns raised about the Hyde and Seek crèche chain revealed in the Prime Time Investigates programme.
The gardai at Mountjoy garda station have become involved, according to Tusla, the Child and Family Agency.
A spokesman for the Hyde and Seek said today the Prime Time Investigates programme "has raised some real issues for us and we will deal with them quickly.
"The overall picture it painted does not reflect who we are, but there are specific issues we need to address and are addressing quickly."
The undercover operation revealed children were ill treated and also some serious fire safety risks.
"We will shortly retain an expert external consultant to review our management structure and our service. We began seeking to identify such a consultant this week," said the spokesman.
"We strive always to provide the highest quality of childcare and to give children a happy safe place in which they can develop and play, and we are determined and committed to do this.
"One of the first changes we make will be the recruitment of a new manager at our Tolka Road creche, which was the focus of much of the criticism in the programme.
"We know we need to work to rebuild, retain and enhance the trust our parents have in us. We have spoken to many of them in recent days and would urge others with concerns to contact us. We are available to talk to and meet parents at any time.
"We note that while the programme made criticisms of aspects of our service, it praised our childcare staff whose dedication, professionalism and kindness are central to the care we provide."
He said: "We have taken some steps to deal with urgent issues. For example the fire safety issue raised, in relation to the layout of the cot rooms in two of our creches, has been resolved, and fire safety inspections in the past week have confirmed that to us.
"We will work as always with Dublin Fire Brigade to address any other issue that they identify.
"Our policy and practice is to abide by the staff ratios set out by Tusla, though we know that, as in most creches, this may not be the case at every moment of every day.
"The programme suggested that at lunchtime in one of the creches there is a particular ratio problem which we will address urgently. We dispute some of the detail of what has been reported. But this is not to dispute the overall point, which is that we have work to do to ensure we continue to offer the highest standards of care."
He said the "programme referred to profits made by the creches. However profits in recent years have all been reinvested in developing our creches.
"The directors receive modest salaries and no dividends have been paid to any shareholder in recent years.We have been in direct communication with many parents over the past week to discuss concerns they have and we would encourage any parents with concerns to come directly to us."
If parents believe that their children are affected, they can contact gardaí at Mountjoy on (01) 666 8600.