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Secret video shows creche worker shouting at child

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Fine Gael Senator Catherine Noone (left).Minister Jimmy Deenihan,TD,Paudie Coffey,TD FG and Minister France Fitzgerald ,TD   at Leinster House yesterday.Pic Tom Burke 15/2/121

Fine Gael Senator Catherine Noone (left).Minister Jimmy Deenihan,TD,Paudie Coffey,TD FG and Minister France Fitzgerald ,TD at Leinster House yesterday.Pic Tom Burke 15/2/121

Fine Gael Senator Catherine Noone (left).Minister Jimmy Deenihan,TD,Paudie Coffey,TD FG and Minister France Fitzgerald ,TD at Leinster House yesterday.Pic Tom Burke 15/2/121

SHOCKING footage showing a child gagging while being shouted at and handled roughly by a creche worker has been revealed in a television expose.

And in another creche children were "flipped and thrown" like "ragdolls" on their mattresses by staff as they struggled to get the children to go to sleep.

The distressing incidents were filmed by an undercover researcher hired as a childcare worker at the Giraffe creche in Belarmine, Stepaside, in south Dublin, and at Links creche in Abington, Malahide, in north Dublin.

A third creche – Little Harvard in Rathnew, Co Wicklow – was also secretly filmed.

It has emerged that 75pc of all creches nationwide are breaching mandatory standards of good practice aimed at protecting the welfare of young children. And almost half breach the required staff/children ratio.

The disturbing programme showed some children left strapped in small chairs for up to an hour in the Giraffe creche, with one youngster aged 21 months left facing a fridge.

It also showed:

* Diaries given to parents about their children's days were fabricated, with the daily diary sometimes filled out before the afternoon.

* The allergy list for children was a year out of date.

* Ongoing problems were documented in the creche's last six inspection reports.

Management at the creche have apologised to the parents and children involved.

The footage from the Links creche in Malahide showed children being cursed at and one staff member admitting that parents would be "disgusted" if they knew she had been shouting at the children. A number of children were also thrown or dropped on to a mat during sleep time, while a child who would not go to sleep had his mattress taken away.

Commenting during the programme, Professor Sheila Greene – who co-founded the leading Children's Research Centre – said children were "flipped and thrown" like "ragdolls" by the staff at the creche.

The secret filming at Little Harvard creche showed that children were left in high chairs for hours and staff were seen talking on their phones when they should have been supervising children.

Staff also falsified records for the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) scheme which requires that children do not miss more than 20 days.

The creches involved were given access to the footage in advance of the broadcast but only saw the full programme for the first time last night.

The Giraffe creche said last week that it had suspended three staff pending an internal investigation. Management said some of the allegations were "over-sensationalised and lacking in proof".

An investigation has also been undertaken at Little Harvard creche in Rathnew, Co Wicklow, with the company saying it was "deeply concerned" the footage was focusing on "isolated incidents".

Links Childcare, which suspended three employees and dismissed another, told parents that it deeply regretted the incidents. Children's Minister Frances Fitzgerald (pictured) briefed the Cabinet about the issue of creches ahead of the broadcast of the RTE 'Prime Time' investigation.

Early Childhood Ireland – the representative group for 3,330 pre-school, full day-care and afterschool providers caring for over 100,000 children – said the majority of facilities were dedicated and hardworking.

The HSE said any parent who has a complaint should contact their local inspector's office which is listed on its website.

If you are worried about childcare issues raised, Barnardos are available at 01 4549699 while the ISPCC are at 01 6767960.

Irish Independent