Creche owner denies she was in breach of staffing level guidelines during HSE visit

Owner says that many of the complaints made by HSE inspection team were ‘fantasy’

The owner of a Co Cork creche being prosecuted for alleged breaches of childcare provision regulations yesterday denied breaching guidelines on staffing levels.

Hazel O'Mahony, the owner of Tiny Tots creche at Killeagh Gardens, Killeagh, Co Cork, denies eight breaches of the Child Care (Pre-School Services) Regulations 2006 pursuant to the Child Care Act 1991 at the creche during a HSE inspection on November 22nd 2012.

Yesterday, Ms O'Mahony told Midleton District Court a visit by two HSE officials was highly stressful for staff and children. She said a staff member had got sick on the morning of the visit, reducing staff numbers from six to five. She rang her sister who operates a creche in Midleton and within 20 minutes she was on site in Killeagh. This brought their staff numbers back up to the recommended level for the number of children that they had at the creche at the time, said Ms O'Mahony.

“The two staff [inspectors] were so intimidating on the day . . . if we asked a question we were fobbed off,” she told Judge John O’Neill. “It has been devastating. It has been very upsetting.” Ms O’Mahony rejected much of the evidence given previously by the HSE inspectors.

The case has been adjourned until September 5th for mention.