(Image source: RTE)
A woman who owned a company running a number of creches that were the subject of an RTE Investigates programme has been levied with a fine of €4000 after being found to have committed three breaches of childcare legislation.
According to RTE, Anne Davy pleaded guilty to breaches of the legislation at Dublin District Court. As the registered provided of childcare services at the Hyde and Seek creches.
Some of the charges related to having too many children in one of the creches and breaching the legislation in this regard. She also admitted having taken part in a practice called “roughly handling” a toddler by trying to get him to sleep.
A further 19 other counts, including charges against Ms. Davy’s daughter Siobhan, and the company itself, were not pursued by the Child and Family Agency which withdrew them.
Undercover footage of activities in the creches included situations where a child was “roughly handled” and was then upset afterwards. The child’s father was extremely upset when he watched the footage.
The court heard that Ms. Davy had been subjected to a lot of abuse, both online and in real life, after the program was broadcast on RTE. She had retired from frontline childcare and agreed not to take part in any frontline work. She was criticised by Government Ministers and was reported to the Gardai. She ultimately had to move house.
The Judge said he was taking into account the abuse and criticism that she received. He also said that children were the country’s greatest resource and that childcare facilities were extremely important for the careers of members of the public. He also noted that seeing any child being dealt with in a less than appropriate way “saddened all of us”.
Tusla, the Child and Family Agency welcomed the prosecution and said that it showed accountability.
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