Trial date set for Hyde and Seek Creche which featured on RTÉ Investigates

The non-jury trial at Dublin District Court has been delayed as a result of the Covid-19 crisis.
Trial date set for Hyde and Seek Creche which featured on RTÉ Investigates

Tom Tuite

The Hyde & Seek Creche group, which featured in an RTÉ Investigates programme, will go on trial in February for breaking childcare laws.

The Dublin creche and directors Siobhan and Anne Davy have been accused of offences under the Child Care Act 1991 (Early Years Services) Regulations 2016.

That legislation sets out the health, safety, and welfare standards that must be in place in pre-school childcare services. They deny the charges.

The non-jury trial at Dublin District Court has been delayed as a result of the Covid-19 crisis and the case was listed again for mention before Judge Anthony Halpin on Wednesday.

Defence solicitor Michael Staines said the four-day hearing would commence on February 7th.

Tusla needed four weeks to obtain answers from RTÉ about video evidence. Judge Halpin granted his request to order disclosure of all remaining evidence, including correspondence between RTÉ and Tusla.

Mr Staines said a date might need to be set aside later this year to deal with the admissibility of RTÉ's video evidence.

The case will be listed regarding the pretrial issues on November 24th.

Video evidence

The district court had earlier granted a stay on the de-registration of the creches by Tusla, Child and Family Agency.

Inspectors' reports and RTÉ footage are the basis for the prosecution, the court has heard. The defence has indicated it wanted a technical expert to examine the video evidence.

Mr Staines had been provided with 3,000 pages of evidence, and the court heard there would be 10 or 11 State witnesses, mostly Tusla employees. The offences allegedly occurred in 2019.

There were 120 hours of film footage, distilled to about 20 or 21 minutes for the broadcast. “We are certain there was selective editing of film on certain occasions,” Mr Staines has told the court.

Siobhan Davy, director of Hyde & Seek Glasnevin Ltd, is accused of permitting two staff members to work with children at their Finglas Road creche on April 11th, May 23rd and July 27th, without documentary evidence confirming they held minimal educational awards.

She has a charge for permitting staff to wake a child by holding a wet cloth on their face on July 10th. She is also accused of allowing one staff member to supervise nine babies in contravention of safety ratios on July 8th.

The company itself is accused of not having documentary evidence of staff having a major award qualification in early childcare. It is also accused of permitting the use of a wet cloth to wake a child.

Owner Anne Davy is accused of letting eight staff members work at Hyde & Seek Creche and Montessori without Garda vetting. She also has a charge for providing inadequate space for 46 children on various dates when the creche was sanctioned for 32 only.

If convicted, they could face fines of up to €120,000.

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