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Staff member behaved 'inappropriately' – owner

A Dublin creche at the centre of a Garda and HSE probe has admitted that a staff member was involved in "inappropriate conduct".

The Giraffe creche in Belarmine, Stepaside, has confirmed that a series of disturbing incidents did take place.

These include strapping children into chairs for long periods and abrupt handling of children, which were recorded by an undercover reporter.

FABRICATED

Other serious issues include indications that parents' communication diaries may have been fabricated, as well as question marks over the maintenance of the children's allergy list.

A Giraffe spokesperson confirmed last night that senior management had viewed sections of the RTE Prime Time footage. "There was clear evidence of inappropriate conduct in caring for young children by a particular staff member, who has already been suspended.

"Such incidents involved the unnecessary strapping of children into their chairs for purposes other than meal time or table top activities."

Giraffe Childcare's managing director Simon Dowling said he was deeply upset and disappointed.

UNACCEPTABLE

"It is unacceptable and totally against everything we represent at Giraffe.

"It also undermines the love and care our hard working edu-carers give to the children and whom our parents know and trust so well.

"I want to assure every single parent that we have commenced putting measures in place to correct this serious lapse at our centre at Belarmine," he added.

Giraffe, which has 19 established centres, has suspended two members of staff. Meanwhile, the Little Harvard creche at Rathnew, Co Wicklow has become the third creche to be embroiled in the childcare controversy along with the Links in Abington, Malahide.

Little Havard said: "The company and its legal advisers are carrying out a full investigation into the allegations and it would be inappropriate to make any comment until such time as this investigation is complete.

"As the company is committed to providing a high quality service, it is deeply concerned about these allegations."

Earlier this week the HSE received reports from the Gardai relating to three creches in the Dublin area.

HSE Children and Family services are working with the Gardai to review the reports.

cfeehan@herald.ie


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