- Creche controversy
Pat Flanagan: Hyde And Seek creche expose shows Ireland is the State of Scandal
“There have been so many scandals that ordinary folk can’t keep up with them”
The Hyde And Seek creche expose once again shows Ireland is truly the State of Scandal.
The nation is shocked and appalled after an RTE investigation showed children being handled roughly, with babies being restrained for long periods at this company’s creches.
But the distress will soon pass as this latest scandal dips below the event horizon to be replaced by another which, in turn, will also fade with time.
Still, there’s something deeply depressing seeing children not being looked after properly when the mortal sins of the hellish industrial schools and concentration camp mother and baby homes still stain the soul of Irish society.
The reality is Ireland is no place for young children, or for that matter old men and old women, the sick, the poor, the homeless and just about everyone else without money or connections.
Indeed RTE could take its undercover cameras into any number of institutions and facilities and find similar or worse abuses taking place.
There have been so many scandals that ordinary folk can’t keep up with them.
I’m in the news industry 30 years and I’ve lost track as the last one just runs into the next.
As to why a country of little more than 4.7 million souls generates so many so often would keep a team of anthropologists busy for decades but they tend to have a unique pattern.
There is the exposure, followed by the shock and horror, then comes the probe, the lessons (not) learned and the pledges that it will never happen again… until it does.
If the scandal is big enough there’s an inquiry which will take years and cost a fortune.
Who remembers the Prime Time investigation “A Breach of Trust”? If you do you’ll be experiencing a sense of deja vu because it is a carbon copy of the current Hyde and Seek scandal.
In May 2013, secretly recorded footage at three creches in Dublin and Wicklow showing staff manhandling children, screaming at them and snatching toys from their hands.
The shock and horror came thick and fast and the then Children’s Minister Frances Fitzgerald, who would later be forced to resign over a separate scandal, said she was appalled at what she described as “deeply distressing emotional abuse”.
She promised the HSE would carry out more inspections and consider hiring more staff to cope with the increased workload.
Current Children’s Minister Katherine Zappone is as “deeply shocked and appalled”
over Hyde And Seek as her predecessor.
She has pledged to “root out despicable behaviour and prevent the cavalier treatment of children”.
Cavalier treatment of children Minister? There are nearly 50,000 youngsters on your watch waiting to see a paediatrician for an outpatient appointment so they can get any kind of treatment.
But that’s for another day – one scandal at a time. Incredibly, among the advice given to parents by Tusla – the Child and Family Agency was to “speak to your provider and seek assurances about the quality of care”.
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Like they are going to admit that the kids in their charge are being manhandled and left to their own devices.
It has also emerged that Hyde & Seek’s Glasnevin creche was successfully prosecuted by Tusla earlier this year for the operation of an unregistered service.
How come food safety inspectors regularly close down restaurants if they don’t meet standards yet similar action can’t be taken against creches if they breach regulations?
Then again, Tusla, itself is a body mired in scandal.
The biggest scandal of all is many parents are forced to leave their children in creches because they have no other option if they want to afford a mortgage or rent.
Parents who want to mind their own children, should be given a stay-at-home allowance instead of subsidising what is in some cases very substandard childcare.