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Gardai and HSE to probe creche after RTE sting

GARDAI and the HSE are investigating allegations of poor quality of care at a south Dublin creche.

Two members of staff have been suspended at the Giraffe creche in Stepaside.

The probe is based on footage secretly filmed at the Giraffe creche by a TV researcher posing as a care worker.

It allegedly shows substandard practice and quality of care.

The Herald understands that RTE's Prime Time programme plans to broadcast an expose on standards of care at more than one creche in Dublin.

The HSE's Children and Family Services unit has confirmed that the creche is under investigation. "We received a report yesterday regarding the independent childcare facility in south Dublin.

"The HSE Children and Family services are working with An Garda Siochana to review the report and make an assessment with respect to any child welfare and protection concerns," a HSE spokesperson said.

Gardai confirmed that they are making inquiries into allegations about two creches, one on Dublin's northside, which the Herald understands is not a Giraffe centre, and another on the southside.

A statement issued on behalf of Giraffe confirmed it is examining a complaint that was brought to the attention of the HSE in late April by an ex-employee.


"We are taking this complaint very seriously," said a Giraffe spokesperson.

"As a precautionary measure, we have suspended the two members of staff named in the complaint while we examine the matter and establish the facts," they added.

Giraffe raised concerns that the complaints had been filed by an RTE researcher working undercover as an employee, who had "purported to be an edu-carer".

"Last Sunday evening, we discovered that the researcher had also secretly filmed while she was in the centre, but did not supply the footage to the HSE or to Giraffe.

"We have made numerous requests for the footage over the past two days so that we can review and assess the situation, and we still have not received the material.

"We will leave no stone unturned until we establish the facts, and whatever shortcomings are identified will be immediately rectified," said the Giraffe spokesperson.

"The HSE has requested us to respond to the complaint within a three-month period; however it is our intention to finalise our report within the next week or as soon as we are in possession of all the facts.

"We are seriously concerned to learn of any possibility of poor quality care in our centre at Belarmine. Our immediate priority is to establish the facts and to implement whatever remedial actions are required. We will keep parents informed."

RTE would not comment on the upcoming Prime Time programme, or whether it intends to supply footage to creches, the HSE or gardai. Giraffe said it has a long history in the childcare sector in Ireland.

"Our approach, throughout all our centres, is to ensure that each child is loved and nurtured by our staff, and to ensure that each child has the opportunity to develop as an individual at their own pace.


"Our relationship with our parents is based on a trusting partnership, which helps us to provide the comfort and knowledge that the children they have entrusted to us are in safe hands.

"The greater body of staff and carers throughout Giraffe centres are still the same good, honest professional people that parents entrusted up to now, and are equally shocked and upset at this recent development," she said.