Tuesday 20 August 2019

'We can’t tolerate it being open' - Residents protesting at Hyde & Seek crèche call for HSE to shut down chain

Protesters outside Hyde & seek creche
Protesters outside Hyde & seek creche
Hyde & Seek crèche. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Owner: Anne Davy (64) has stepped away from frontline care since the exposé on TV

Allison Bray

A small group of local residents have protested outside the Tolka Road branch of the controversial Hyde & Seek crèche this afternoon.

Mother-of-three Sorcha Finnegan, who organised the protest via Facebook, said a group of local residents were marching to the local offices of Tusla this afternoon to send a clear message to the child welfare agency that they want the chain of four Hyde & Seek creches closed down.

“We are so close to this crèche, we can’t tolerate it being open unless the HSE buy it over or the Government buy it over and let it be HSE run, let the staff in there be re-trained to HSE standards,” she said of the State’s Health Service Executive.

“Even if it’s one of us or 10 of us, we’re not happy,” she said.

READ MORE: 'Much greater clarification' needed on 37 'high risk' creches - Simon Harris

“Today’s turnout isn’t as good as we hoped for but we’re small. It could be five of us, it could be 10 of us, we’re not giving up on this being allowed to happen under our noses,” she said.

Ms Finnegan and other local mothers from the area are to open a free ‘pop-up’ child-minding service at the Croke Park handball centre on August 12.

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Nial Ring

The service, which has the blessing of local Dublin City councillor and former mayor Nial Ring, will be run by garda-vetted volunteers in order to provide an alternative for parents whose children remain in the care of Hyde & Seek creches because they have no other options or have already removed their children from the facility.

“We have no guarantees of what’s going on inside. It’s still open and there are children being dropped in, unfortunately maybe the parents have no back-up,” she said.

“We don’t want a penny off them. All we ask is the parents to bring a change of clothes and nappies,” she added.

READ MORE: Tusla admits it isn't able to close any rogue crèche amid Hyde and Seek controversy

The service is being offered to ensure parents that their children will be safe and well-cared for, she said.

It comes after the Tolka Road Hyde & Seek facility featured in an undercover documentary by RTE a fortnight ago.

The RTE Investigates programme highlighted issues over the standard of care at the Tolka Road site as well as three other Hyde & Seek creches owned by Anne Davy.

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Owner: Anne Davy (64) has stepped away from frontline care since the exposé on TV

Ms Davy has since stepped down from frontline duties at the centres but is still running the business. She has not been seen in public since the programme sparked a national outrage.

Ms Finnegan said her children, aged 3, 17 and 26, all went to an HSE-run crèche and never had any problems.

“You knew the girls were (working) under regulations. You know Tusla was coming in and out, you know social workers were coming in and out just to check the kid’s welfare. So why is that not happening in private (facilities)?,” she asked.

“Who is protecting our children? Nobody is,” she said.

Siobhan Anderson, (46), whose house backs onto the crèche, said she hopes that “Tusla listens and it makes a difference”.

“The crèche is literally in our back garden and we just won’t accept children being treated like that and neglected.”

“People are just so annoyed and disappointed to know what is going on,” she said of the revelations from the programme.

Even some locals who weren’t involved in the protest expressed outrage at the issues raised by RTE.

“It defies belief. It’s awful,” said area resident Gerard Rodgers, (53) who was walking past the protest.

“It’s pretty awful that those practices are going on,” he said.

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