GROWN men wept as allegations of the mishandling of children at Links creche in Malahide, Dublin were discussed.
Parents were "hysterical" at the meeting on Monday night, according to one mother who refused to give her name, only revealing that she has two children in the facility.
The atmosphere outside the creche yesterday, both in the morning and the evening, was subdued, with parents gathering in small groups to discuss the traumatic saga.
Few wanted to speak openly about it at all, with many saying they were still largely in the dark about the exact nature of the allegations. Nobody we spoke to wished to be identified.
A letter on the door of the creche informed parents that Links was currently in the process of setting up an online CCTV monitoring system, so that parents would be able to watch footage of their children in "real time".
This is being done "as a matter of priority," the letter read.
Poignantly, the piping sound of little children's voices could be heard in song as one mother revealed how parents of the toddlers at the centre of the storm had found out that their youngsters had allegedly been mishandled.
She said the parents' meeting on Monday night had been characterised by "mass hysteria".
"Grown men were crying," she added. The mother, who has not seen the footage, said she "cannot face" watching it. However she had still reached the difficult decision of putting her children back in creche yesterday.
Earlier, another mother said she was particularly shocked because the girl accused of mishandling the children seemed "lovely".
"I decided to bring my two here today because they've been here two years. I never sensed anything," she said.
"I am shocked because the girl they're accusing of this is lovely. My son is in that group and he loves the girls in there – he puts his arms out to them."
She added: "I feel whatever has happened is something isolated. I've often called here on spec and never felt anything untoward."