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Monday 24 July 2017

€23k for terrified girl who pleaded 'no creche' at facility in RTE expose

The Giraffe childcare facility in Stepaside, Co Dublin. Photo: Damien Eagers
The Giraffe childcare facility in Stepaside, Co Dublin. Photo: Damien Eagers

A two-year-old girl suffered terror almost every day for five months while in the care of a creche exposed by RTE in a documentary, a judge has heard.

Barrister Michael Connellan told Circuit Court President Mr Justice Raymond Groarke that when being taken to the Giraffe Childcare creche by her parents, Emilie Kiely used to plead with them: "No creche, no creche."

Stress

Mr Connellan, who appeared for Emilie and her parents John and Caroline Kiely, said Giraffe Childcare, which was responsible for the running of Belarmine Childcare in Step-aside, Enniskerry Road, Co Dublin, had offered Emilie a damages settlement of €23,000.

Counsel told Judge Groarke that Emilie, now aged six, suffered personal injury in the form of stress and emotional upset and terror over a five- month period between September 2012 and January 2013.

The court heard that Emilie had been minded in the todd-lers' room by an individual who was abusive towards the children in her care.

Emilie showed signs of behavioural changes of anxiety and distress and when collected each evening was often withdrawn, red-faced and tired and would fall into a disturbed sleep.

Mr Kiely, in an affidavit to the court, said he and his wife discussed the problem with Emilie's carer, who reassured both of them that she was receiving an appropriate level of care under her supervision.

A month later, Emilie's demeanour improved when she was moved to a new room at the creche.

Then, in May 2013, Mr Kiely and his wife learned of RTE's programme, A Breach of Trust.

The couple watched the documentary the following month and, while their daughter did not feature in any footage, it showed the minder they had previously confided in behaving angrily and screaming at children.

Afterwards, they made alter- native arrangements for Emilie's care and took out a claim for compensation on their daughter's behalf.

Harsh

Two years ago, Judge James O'Donoghue rejected a settlement offer of €15,000 from Giraffe Childcare.

The court heard that Emilie first attended the creche at the age of eight months and was all right for the first 13 months.

It was in September 2012 when she was transferred to the toddlers' room that her personality changed after having been introduced to a harsh childcare regime for five months.

Judge Groarke, who was assured there was no serious risk to Emilie's future psychological development, approved the €23,000 offer.

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