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Girl (7) Awarded €35,000 Creche Abuse Compensation

A 7-year-old girl who was filmed in 2013 attempting to walk as she was tied into a chair and left unattended to cry during nap time has been awarded €35,000.

Emily Martin was recorded as part of RTE’s first undercover creche expose, She sued Giraffe Childcare and the Health Service Executive (HSE) via her father Jonathan Martin. Emily, from Sandyford, was only 21 months old when the Prime Time documentary was aired in May 2013.

Judge Garrett Simons was informed that Emily had been int he care of the Giraffe Creche at Belarmine Copse, Enniskerry Road, Stepaside, Dublin from the time that she was eight months old. She was moved into into the ‘wobbler room’ shortly after her first birthday. Emily parent’s told the judge that they had reviewed the promotional literature regarding the ‘premium nature’ of the service available in choosing the creché in question.

However, in 2013, an undercover RTE journalist took up a role at the creche, as a childcare worker, and secretly filmed the daily practices for some six weeks. When the footage was aired on May 28, 2013 and showed many of the children being badly treated or handled. These inflicted serious trauma and the children attending the creche.

Emily’s parents informed the judge that they were extremely distressed when they viewed the documentary footage which showed their child tied to a chair and crying holding her toy horse during nap time.

legal representative for Emily and her parents informed the court that she (Emily) was told to ‘go asleep’ over and over again, and that a creche worker threatened her. When the RTE worker attempted to comfort Emily as she was crying, she was told to ‘leave her cry’. Her parents withdrew Emily from the care at the creche upon viewing the documentary.

After Emily moved to the wobbler room, her parents informed the court, she began started having trouble sleeping and would often become angry and would shout. After she was taken away from the the creche this behaviour abated.

It was claimed that the creche had failed to put in place proper precautions for Emily’s safety, had restrained children in chairs in an improper manner and had attempted to put them to sleep in an inappropriate fashion. It was also alleged that the creche management had failed to supervise or train staff properly.

A separate claim taken by the family said that the HSE had not made sure that the creche complied with all child care regulations.

Judge Simons said he was happy to approve the settlement that he was told the defendants had offer, which included meeting the costs of the creche abuse compensation action.