Thursday 17 October 2019

Woman arrested as part of investigation into alleged incidents at busy creche - including reported assault of child

Ralph Riegel

A WOMAN was arrested by Gardaí as part of an escalating investigation with Tusla into alleged incidents at a busy creche including a reported assault on a young child.

Gardaí confirmed a woman, aged in her 60s, was arrested for questioning in respect of an alleged assault on a child.

The woman was detained under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act,

1984 and taken to a Cork garda station for questioning.

She can be questioned for up to 12 hours.

It is expected that she will be released without charge.

The arrest today marked a major escalation in the investigation which was launched by Tusla and the Gardaí following receipt of allegations from a former worker at the creche involved.

The allegations made by the female employee - who worked at the creche for just five days - have been vehemently denied by the two staff members at the centre of the allegations and by the owner of the creche.

The facility is located in the south.

It continues to operate.

The arrest followed a briefing between Tusla officials and the family of the child at the centre of the assault allegation.

It is understood that the child has since been the focus of extensive medical tests.

Legal action has been taken by the creche operator against the former employee involved over the allegations which are denied as totally unfounded.

Parents of children attending the creche were briefed in an email from the creche owner about the Tusla investigation.

In the email - seen by Independent.ie - the allegations levelled against the two workers have been described as "extremely serious."

However, they have been rejected as "completely untrue, false and unfounded."

The creche insisted that at no point were any children placed in danger.

"I have witness statements from all current employees disputing her allegations and all staff - myself included - are 100pc behind the staff (against) who the allegations are made," the email stated.

"I am sending this mail to inform ye TUSLA are going to contact ye to inform ye that they are conducting their investigation and to make ye aware of the seriousness of it.

"They will not divulge names or anything but quite possibly will frighten and upset ye.

"I know this will be difficult but please let me assure ye your children are 100pc happy, safe and well-cared for here.

"They have never or will ever be placed in danger whilst in our care.

"I know rumours will go around as to what happened but I cannot jeopardise any legal proceedings by talking specifics and also staff are entitled to due and fair process."

The creche operator said they were open to meet with parents to allay any concerns they may have.

"This is a very upsetting and distressing time for everyone involved.

I hope ye all have faith in our good work and name and will continue with us," they said.

Tusla has declined to comment on the investigation or the nature of the female employee's allegations.

"Tusla does not comment on individual cases as it may prejudice any enforcement or prosecutorial action," a spokesperson said.

"If parents have any child protection concerns, they can contact their local Tusla social work team or they can contact the Tusla Early Years Inspectorate in respect of standards of care in Early Years Services."

The woman has since been released without charge and a file will be prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions.

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