Monday 26 August 2019

RTÉ Investigates creche Hyde and Seek clears €2.75m in profits as it gets €1.25m from the State

Hiring: A sign in the window of Hyde and Seek in Shaw Street looks for staff passionate about children. Picture: Steve Humphreys
Hiring: A sign in the window of Hyde and Seek in Shaw Street looks for staff passionate about children. Picture: Steve Humphreys
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

The crèches' parent company Hyde and Seek Childcare Ltd saw profits after salaries of €2.75m over the past five years.

These profits were €268,423 in 2014 and rose as high as €806,477 in 2017.

During a similar timeframe, between 2014 and 2018, the chain also received €1.25m from the State.

This is to cover subsidised childcare which was introduced in recent years, including the free pre-school year.

The chain, which has four crèches, has been in business since 1998.

The Shaw Street branch is registered as a business name to Elizabeth Anne Davy.

The Glasnevin crèche is owned by Anne Davy and her daughter Siobhan Day.

The Tolka Road branch is owned by Ms Davy and her husband Peter Davy.

The Tolka Road crèche has had problems with staff turnover and during the RTÉ undercover operation the chef was instructed to help out with childcare.

In response, Hyde and Seek said the chef had many years' experience, is trustworthy and Garda vetted.

A spokesman for the company said: "We have been operating crèches for over 15 years and strive to provide a top-quality child-centred service.

"Our crèches are fully registered and are regulated by Tusla with whom we work to ensure that we comply with all regulations.

"In recent days we have had unannounced Tusla inspections and fire safety inspections at several of our premises and we do not believe any major issues will arise from them.

"However we acknowledge that the 'Prime Time' programme has raised real issues which we need to address.

"We have already addressed some - for example, we have recently changed the layout of our cot rooms at our Tolka Road and Shaw Street crèches, and last week we had unannounced visits by Dublin City Council fire officers to each of those premises and those inspectors said there were no fire safety issues requiring immediate action."

He said during a recent difficult period at the Tolka Road crèche, Ms Davy took a more frontline childcare role than she normally does.

"She accepts she did not handle this period well, but would point out that several comments she made on film were in fact directed at your programme's researcher, in frustration at what she saw as a failure to carry out basic duties," he said.

"However she is now stepping back from all frontline work at the crèche."

He added: "We are going to restructure our management, a process which will include the appointment of a new manager at Tolka Road.

"We operate an open-door policy and parents are free to visit our crèches at any time.

"We are in ongoing contact with parents of children who use the services featured in your programme this week and expect to meet many of them in the coming days.

"We would encourage parents to contact us with any concerns that they have."

Irish Independent

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