Hyde and Seek childcare group takes defamation action against RTÉ

Claim arises out of programme, which led to Tusla and gardaí investigations

Proceedings against RTÉ were taken by Hyde and Seek Childcare Ltd, Hyde and Seek Glasnevin Ltd, and Siobhán, Anne and Peter Davy. File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Proceedings against RTÉ were taken by Hyde and Seek Childcare Ltd, Hyde and Seek Glasnevin Ltd, and Siobhán, Anne and Peter Davy. File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

 

The Hyde and Seek childcare group has lodged defamation proceedings against RTÉ arising out of the RTÉ Investigates programme that was aired in July last year.

The RTÉ programme, called Creches – Behind Closed Doors, created great controversy and led to investigations by Tusla, the child and family agency, as well as by the gardaí.

The programme used undercover reporting to investigate the standard of care in the creche chain.

The Oireachtas children’s committee held an emergency meeting in the wake of the programme, and the children’s minister, Katherine Zappone, wrote to Tusla about strenghtening its regulatory powers.

Tusla has since then issued proceedings alleging breaches of childcare regulations. Separately, a file has been sent by the gardaí to the Director of Public Prosecutions.

High Court

On Wednesday proceedings were lodged in the High Court alleging defamation against RTÉ.

The proceedings were taken by Hyde and Seek Childcare Ltd, Hyde and Seek Glasnevin Ltd, and Siobhán, Anne and Peter Davy, who are all associated with the family-owned business.

The business and the Davys are being represented by Meagher solicitors in the defamation proceedings, while Micheal Staines solicitors is acting for Hyde and Seek in relation to the Tusla matters.

Defamation proceedings can be taken at any time within a year of the alleged defamation. It is understood the lodgement of the defamation action was not proceeded by the type of legal communications that would normally come in advance of such a move, and that the lodgement of the action on Wednesday came as a surprise to RTÉ.

The RTÉ Investigates programme, which created much controversy and was widely discussed after it was broadcast, can still be viewed on the RTÉ Player service.

A spokeswoman for the national broadcaster said it would not be making any comment.