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Saturday 3 December 2016

Judge refuses €15k offer from creche to girl (4)

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Giraffe Childcare, Stepaside, was named in RTE expose
Giraffe Childcare, Stepaside, was named in RTE expose

A four-year-old girl who allegedly suffered psychological injuries while attending a creche mentioned in an RTE expose on the mistreatment of children has been offered a settlement of €15,000.

But Judge James O'Donohue in the Circuit Civil Court said the damages offer was not enough and rejected it. It means the claim by Emilie Kiely will now go to a full trial.

The court heard that Emilie, during a five-month period when she attended Giraffe Childcare, at Belarmine Copse, Stepaside, Enniskerry Road, Co Dublin, allegedly "suffered stress, emotional upset and terror." The creche had denied liability in a full defence to the child's claim but, Judge O'Donohue was told, had made the "without admission of liability" settlement offer.

Emile, who first attended the creche when she was eight-months-old, was taken out of the creche after the airing of the RTE programme, Prime Time Investigates, which exposed the treatment of children at a number of childcare facilities.

Stressed

Barrister Michael Connellan said Emilie had attended the creche on a daily basis and had been moved to the 'toddlers room' in September 2012 until the end of January 2013.

The court heard in her claim that during those five months, Emilie's parents, John and Caroline Kiely, of Sandyford Downs, Sandyford, Dublin, noticed changes in her behaviour.

Emilie had been stressed when she was being dropped at the creche during the week or when passing in front of it during the weekend, and would say "no creche, no creche".

The judge heard that she was allegedly often withdrawn, red-faced and tired when she was collected from the creche in the evening, and would sometimes fall asleep in the car.

The Kielys had allegedly discussed their daughter's issue with the relevant minder at the creche, who assured them Emilie had been receiving the appropriate level of care. Emilie parents, according to documents opened to the court, revealed that they had been in shock when they had watched the TV programme as it allegedly showed the minder they had spoken to screaming at children.

Emilie, through her father John, sued Giraffe Childcare, with a registered office at Adamstown Avenue, Castlegate, Adamstown, Lucan, Co Dublin.

The court heard that the creche had made a €15,000 settlement offer. Mr Connellan said that although liability was in issue in the case, he was confident Emilie would win her claim if it went to a full hearing.

Judge O'Donohue refused the offer and the matter was adjourned for a full hearing, at a date to be fixed.

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