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Saturday 3 December 2016

Creche to pay out €1m in settlements after RTE expose

Elizabeth Noonan and Carmen Castro, mothers of children who attended the Links Creche, after the court hearing Photo: Courtpix
Elizabeth Noonan and Carmen Castro, mothers of children who attended the Links Creche, after the court hearing Photo: Courtpix

Settlements totalling more than €1m have been approved by the High Court for 22 children in cases arising out of an RTE documentary about alleged mistreatment in a Dublin creche.

Payouts of between €40,000 and €75,000 each were approved by Mr Justice Kevin Cross for the children, some of whom featured in the footage shown in the 'Breach of Trust' documentary in May 2013 about the Links Abington creche in Malahide.

The court was also told separate actions by the parents of the children who had sued for nervous shock had been settled on undisclosed terms.

The 22 children had sued Links Creche Southside Ltd, Kinsealy, Dublin, and the Links Creche and Montessorri Ltd, with offices in Rathmines, Dublin, along with the creche owners Deirdre and Padraig Kelly of Myra Manor, Kinsealy arising out of alleged mistreatment at the Links Abington facility.

Footage

The defendants had filed a full defence and denied the incidents recorded in the footage were representative of the level of care throughout the creche.

The settlements were without admission of liability.

Senior counsel, Sasha Gayer, told the court most of the children were under three years of age, pre-verbal and had attended the 'Wobbler Room' at the Malahide creche.

There were three categories of cases. The first was where children had been allegedly assaulted or shouted at or mistreated in some way. Counsel claimed the incidents in the footage came within the legal definition of assault. Six children in this category received €75,000 each.

In one case a boy, who had mobility issues, was allegedly roughly grabbed and slammed on to a mat when he tried to crawl away during "circle time".

Those in the second category could be seen in the footage witnessing or sitting beside their peers while they were allegedly being assaulted or shouted at.

The third category included children who were present but not in the footage.

Parents said they had noticed behavioural difficulties in their children which stopped when they were removed from the creche.

Outside court, Ray Farrelly, a father of one boy, said it had been a tough three years for the families and for the children.

'We didn't take this action lightly. We did it with a mind to protect our children, but at the same time trying to make sure this didn't ever happen again."

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