Hyde and Seek: More than 30 families to sue creche after RTÉ Investigates exposé
More than 30 families have indicated they intend issuing legal proceedings against a crèche chain where children were mistreated.
That figure is expected to rise further in the coming weeks after a large group of concerned parents met with lawyers and counsellors on Thursday evening to discuss their options.
All of the parents had children at the Hyde and Seek crèche chain in Dublin, which was at the centre of a damning undercover exposé broadcast by RTÉ last week.
Solicitor Kathrin Coleman, of Coleman Legal Partners, whose representatives were at the meeting, said she had received instructions from upwards of 30 families to issue proceedings against the crèche and named individuals.
"That figure is expected to grow in the near future," she said.
Ms Coleman's firm also acted for families who were affected by a previous RTÉ documentary, 'A Breach of Trust', which exposed mistreatment in crèches in 2013.
In 2016, settlements totalling more than €1m were approved by the High Court arising from that documentary.
A source who was at the meeting described the atmosphere as "emotional", with parents expressing anger and sorrow over what had occurred.
The programme showed how milk for children was diluted with water, while cheap noodles were served instead of a vegetable dish advertised on a menu given to parents.
It revealed children were held down to make them go to sleep, shouted at and left to cry. Cramped sleeping conditions were also exposed.
Footage showed how one child was left in his high chair for up to 40 minutes after feeding time.
There were also breaches of safety, including blocked fire exits, and a lack of Garda vetting of staff.
Due to the numbers involved, the lawsuits are likely to be taken as a multi- party action and will require case management by the courts.
The matter is also being examined by gardaí, who have taken possession of footage and have appealed for parents or guardians who have complaints to contact them.
The Hyde and Seek chain is run by husband and wife Peter and Anne Davy and has facilities in Glasnevin, Tolka Road and Shaw Street.
Ahead of the broadcast, Hyde and Seek announced Ms Davy would be stepping back from "all front-line work" at the company's crèche on Tolka Road.
It also said external consultants would be called in to look at the service.
Ms Davy was previously fined €1,200 in March 2005 for failing to provide adequate safeguards and supervision for a three-year-old boy during an outing in Fairview Park.
At the time, she operated the Giggles Crèche and Montessori, based on Tolka Road.