More than 40 children settle cases against Hyde and Seek creche

Each child was awarded €15,000 each, which was approved by Mr Justice Paul Coffey in the High Court

More than 40 children who sued over their alleged treatment at Hyde and Seek creche childcare have settled High Court actions for a total of €615,000.

Each child was awarded €15,000 each, which was approved by Mr Justice Paul Coffey in the High Court. The judge said these were distressing cases.

The settlements, which were reached after mediation, are without an admission of liability. The children cannot be identified by order of the court.

John Gordon SC, instructed by Coleman Legal solicitors, told the court that the 41 cases arose out of the RTÉ Investigates documentary which was broadcast in 2019.


The RTÉ Investigates team went undercover to look at standards of care in the family-run preschool, which operated several premises in the Dublin area.

Counsel said the children involved in the cases before the court were “very very young” and pre-verbal.

Most he said attended creche for 50 hours per week. He said it was their case the children were treated” in a way that was unacceptable”. He said the children became resistant to attending the creche, were allegedly in overcrowded conditions and “were hungry when they came home because of the poor quality of food. ”

Counsel said each set of parents reported a similar experience and had their child assessed. He said all of them record happily that the children were sufficiently resilient enough to get over it and were expected to make full recovery over time.

He said this resolution of the cases deals honourably with the claims and the €15,000 in each case was the maximum allowed under the judicial guidelines.

The children, through their parents in separate sets of proceedings, had sued the Hyde and Seek owners and operators: Hyde & Seek Childcare Ltd and Hyde & Seek Glasnevin Ltd, with registered offices at Tolka Road, Drumcondra Dublin.

They also sued Anne Davy, her husband, Peter Davy and their daughter Siobhán Davy, of Lindsay Road, Drumcondra, Dublin, who were Hyde and Seek directors.

All the claims made in each case were denied by all defendants.

Hyde & Seek Childcare is owned and run by the Davy family: Anne and Peter and their daughter Siobhán.

Anne Davy (69), who stepped down as a Hyde and Seek director, was in 2022 fined €4,000 after pleading guilty at Dublin District Court to breaching childcare regulations.

She pleaded guilty to three offences and the prosecution dropped all charges against her daughter and director Siobhán Davy and the Hyde & Seek creche group company.

Anne Davy admitted to engaging in a practice that was disrespectful at her Tolka Road creche on May 8th, 2019, contrary to section 19.3 of the Child Care Act 1991 (Early Years Services) Regulations 2016.

She also admitted to having inadequate space per child ratios at the Shaw Street branch.

The court heard that 46 children were there on September 11th, 2018, and 35 on July 19th, 2019. However, the creche was sanctioned for 32 only.

In the High Court on Friday, one case that was settled for €15,000 concerned a now 8-year-old boy, who claimed he started attending the Hyde and Seek creche on Tolka Road, Drumcondra, in October 2016 when he was nine months old.

He was initially placed in the baby room and by July 2019 was in the Toddler Room of the creche.

It was claimed that his parents noticed small bruises on his legs. They raised the matter with the creche but were reassured.

It was claimed the parents observed worrying behaviour in their child and noticed he was always hungry when he was collected, and screaming for food on the way home.

He developed distress at drop off it was claimed and woke in the middle of the night.

His parents also noticed that he would return home wearing a nappy which was swollen with urine.

The family had withdrawn the child for a few months from the creche and found he was much calmer going to a local creche where they had temporarily moved.

In the proceedings, it was claimed that in July 2019 it came to the attention of the boy’s mother that while attending the creche he was allegedly exposed to a culture of erratic care in an allegedly chaotic and distressing care environment and was allegedly exposed to emotionally unsettling experiences.

It was further claimed there was a failure to attend to the boy’s basic needs by allegedly failing to ensure he was adequately fed and that his nappies changed regularly.

It was also claimed the boy had been exposed to ongoing and repeated behaviour that was disrespectful, intimidating and emotionally or physically harmful.

All of the claims were denied.