A High Court judge has approved the settlement of twenty-two claims for abuse at a crèche relating to alleged assaults at the Links Abington Crèche in Dublin.
The Links Abington Crèche in Malahide, Dublin, was the subject of an RTÉ documentary in March 2013. The documentary – “Breach of Trust” – saw pre-school children being physically and verbally abused by staff at the childcare facility.
Following broadcast of the documentary, the parents of twenty-two of the children made claims for abuse at a crèche against Links crèche Southside Ltd, Links crèche Montessori Ltd, and the owners of the crèche – Padraig and Deidre Kelly.
The defendants entered a full defence against the claims for abuse at a crèche but, at the High Court, Mr Justice Kevin Cross heard that offers of settlement had been made to the parents of the children without an admission of liability.
The settlements were divided into three categories for children who had been physically or verbally abused during the broadcast of the documentary, for children who had been sitting alongside those who had been abused, and for children who were present at the time of the alleged abuse, but not shown in the broadcast.
The judge was told details of some of the treatment that the children received. One boy with mobility issues had been grabbed roughly and placed forcibly onto a mat when he tried to crawl away during “circle time”. Other cases involved children who were shouted at during mealtimes, and one involving a child who had a hand slapped and was sworn at for handling food.
It was alleged in the claims for abuse at a crèche that many of the children exhibited a high level of stress around nappy changing time and had developed “behavioural difficulties” that had stopped once the children were removed from the crèche. However, none of the children appear to have suffered any long-term consequences of the alleged mistreatment.
After hearing that a separate claim made by the parents for nervous shock had been settled out-of-court, Judge Cross approved the settlements of the claims for abuse at a crèche, which ranged from €40,000 to €75,000 depending on the category of alleged abuse each child had suffered.