Lack of garda vetting raised in Limerick crèche reports

Further inspection reports to be uploaded in days to come

File photograph of children playing in a classroom of a private nursery school.

File photograph of children playing in a classroom of a private nursery school.


A lack of Garda vetting, inadequate facilities and staff members raising their voices with children were among the issues raised in creche inspection reports published yesterday.

The first tranche of HSE creche inspection reports covering 38 facilities in Co Limerick was published on the Pobal website yesterday afternoon.

Although the majority of creches were found to be compliant, 16 were not under one or more headings.

A lack of Garda vetting or clearance and missing references or CVs for staff members were the most common issues raised in the reports.

In a report relating to an inspection carried out in Bruff Montessori school in Ballinlee, Bruff, Co Limerick, in March, inspectors found that no Garda vetting and no written references were on file for relief staff.

It also found that the tone of voice and actions of staff while directing activities was inappropriate and that “the tone of voice was raised by staff when addressing the pre-school children”. It said two children who were taking longer over their lunch than others were told to finish up.

Kept indoors
Inspectors found that children had not gone out to the outdoor area for “a long time” and that the outside area was inadequate for needs of children as it was “not clean, tidy and safe”.

In a response received on May 14th, the creche informed the HSE that Garda vetting had been applied for in relation to relief staff and that improvements to the outdoor area would be undertaken at the end of the term.

It added that a “code of conduct for staff with emphasis on positive behaviour will be investigated, formulated and implemented as soon as possible”.

A report relating to an inspection carried out in Kilcolman Community Creche in Ardagh, Co Limerick, in March 2012 found that Garda clearance was not on file for three staff members and that the premises were not in a suitable state of repair or decoration.

The inspection found the outdoor area should be further developed, referred to a build-up of dust in a number of areas throughout the creche and noted the presence of a strong odour from the nappy-changing room.

It also found that a staff member’s voice had been “high and sharp at times” with the pre- school children and that staff had stated that “time out” was practised as a method of dealing with challenging behaviour.

In correspondence from the provider following the inspection, the HSE was informed that Garda clearance had been obtained for all staff, a deep clean had been carried out on the premises and a cleaner employed and that issues around ventilation in the changing room were being addressed.

Behavioural management
It said that all staff members had attended behavioural management training in October 2012, a key worker was now assigned to each child and that “time out” would no longer be practised.

In the Happy Faces creche in Askeaton, the inspectors criticised an insufficient quantity and variety of play materials and noted that only four dolls, with no clothes, were available in the Montessori room.

The publication of creche inspection reports followed a Prime Time investigation in May of this year into the alleged mistreatment of young children in three creches, two in Dublin and one in Wicklow.