Tag Archives: rte investigates

This afternoon.

Dáil at The Convention Centre, Dublin.

Minister of State at the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth Anne Rabbitte read into the record questions that she asked of her department last Thursday evening before the RTÉ Investigates programme on secret dossiers being held on autistic children and their families was broadcast.

Ms Rabbitte said there are 270 ‘dormant cases’ and currently 48 families whose cases are ‘open’. A liaison officer is going to be put in contact with those people to make them aware now that they are “impacted”, she said.

A Department of Health report conducted by a senior counsel said nothing illegal was done in compiling the information.

Ms Rabbitte added:

“I don’t know how far back it goes…Was consent from all families not sought? Why was consent from all families not sought? Perhaps that’s what the review will show.”

Why was the minister – and when I talk about the minister, I refer to myself – why was the minister not told last year that there was an issue that was being investigated by a Senior Counsel?”




Ms Rabbitte’s closing remarks in full:

“As I said earlier, I want to apologise to the families who watched the “RTÉ Investigates” programme last week for any upset that was caused, and for any questions I could not answer today. It is my ambition to get those answers and to put them into the public domain because I believe that is how we will build trust and ensure there is transparency. I will start there.

“I thank the Deputies who made contributions to the debate today. I agree that upholding the rights of the must vulnerable members of society is of the utmost importance and I am conscious of the upset that recent allegations have caused for the parents and families concerned. I firmly believe that the whistleblower has an important role in raising matters of public concern and I acknowledge the actions of many brave people in coming forward to raise their concerns.

“I stress that serious allegations have been make against the Department and a review is under way, directed by the Secretary General, which will provide the factual detail related to these matters.

“It is important, however, to emphasise that allegations of a similar nature have already been examined by the independent senior counsel, which advice I am looking to publish and be made available to all. That was the case before the revelations on RTÉ radio this morning. In the future, consideration will need to be given across all parties as to how the transparency of the whole litigation process can be improved.

I wish to read into the record the questions that I asked my Department last Thursday evening before I watched the programme. It is important to put this in context.

“I asked how many open cases there are and how many families have been impacted and will need to be contacted. The answer I have is that there are four dozen open cases. That is to differentiate between open and dormant cases. I have been told that a support liaison person will be put in contact with those families to let them know they have been impacted.

I also asked how many closed cases there are and how many families have been impacted and will need to be contacted. I have been told that, in total, there are approximately 270 cases.

I do not know how far back it goes. I asked was consent sought from all families and if it was not, why that was the case. Perhaps a review will show that consent was not sought.

“I also asked why did this particular practice of case tracking and file management start and when it started. I asked whether the Minister can be provided with a copy of the initial legal advice showing this is an acceptable management of litigation. When I asked these questions, I did not have sight of the senior counsel report that was published last November.

I also asked was other legal advice about this practice sought from other senior counsel, data protection specialists or the Office of the Attorney General over the years and, if so, what was the content of the advice. That is important. I asked how regularly the Department sought updates on these cases from the local HSE community healthcare organisations, CHOs, and who sanctioned them on each occasion.

“I asked how much of the material received came from the litigants for the child or family. That is important in terms of who presented it. I also asked was the material assessed by anyone in particular once received by the Department.

I asked why the Minister was not told last year that this was an issue that was being investigated by a senior counsel. When I talk about the Minister, I refer to myself. I also asked when the senior counsel was hired. We all know now it was this time last year.

“I further asked when the senior counsel’s report was received by the Department. I now know it was received in November 2019. I asked why the Minister was not informed that this report had been received, or the findings in it. When I asked that question, I still did not have the report and I did not receive it until Saturday.

I asked who approved the terms of reference for the SC. I also asked who approved funding for the work and how much did it cost. It cost €10,000. I further asked if I could be provided with a copy of the report of the senior counsel and I am now in receipt of it.

“I asked how many people had access to the information over the years. That is what is being sought as we speak.

“I asked how many people and who currently has access to the spreadsheet. It is my understanding – it is important for Members to know as well – that the file was not held within the disability section, it was held in the social care section. Social care also includes mental health and older persons.

“I asked what is the plan for the spreadsheet referenced going forward and if it is still being used. Yes, is the answer: it is still being used.

I asked if other concerns about this file management had been raised over the years. I am awaiting a response to that. I also asked if there are other similar file or case management protocols in place elsewhere in the Department. That was my last question up to the meeting with the Secretary General last Friday.

Before I came into the House today, I was expecting a briefing, but proceedings ran ahead. Some of the script that I read out is from the Department but a lot of the information I presented this afternoon is my own. I hope it tackles some of the issues.

“I agree with what was stated: this will be a test for us because there is a test of ethical and cultural change, a shift in mindset and transparency and in trust and engagement. That is where we need to get to. It must be a rights-based approach. It is unfortunate that legal cases continue to happen but we need to know the process.

“What is important is trust, transparency and the person at the centre. If my team and I manage to get to that space of understanding, sharing the information and ensuring a rights-based approach, it will ensure there is solid ground going forward. However, first I must sort out what the practice is and share it with Members in an open, transparent way to build the trust of the parents. The parents and the children must be at the centre of today’s debate.

“I say to anybody who watched the programme last week that the Government believes in being supportive of young people and their rights to education and health. We must ensure that we put them first, front and centre.

“We care 150% about them, but at this moment in time there are questions. There are doubts and there is a shadow, but we are going to clear that. When we clear it and I stand here and emphatically tell Members the process that happened, we then want them to continue to trust and believe in us, their physicians and in the process, because it is there to protect. That is what it was always about.

“When the Taoiseach stood here yesterday on the floor of the Dáil, he wholeheartedly spoke about the fact that he introduced special needs education and that it had not existed in the past. That just shows the low base we have come from. One has to wonder how high within the Departments we have risen, but we will question it and challenge it. I will push it and get the answers to ensure that trust and transparency are returned to the people who need it most, the most vulnerable in society.”

Transcript via Oireachtas.ie

RTÉ Investigates: Covid19 – The Third Wave.

Laura Fitzgerald writes:

This compelling docuentary takes viewers into the heart of Tallaght University Hospital where once again frontline staff face enormous challenges, in the latest surge of Covid-19. Revealing the true picture behind the ongoing headlines and daily numbers, the compelling documentary shows doctors and nurses fighting to keep Covid patients alive in the current third wave.

Needs more bubbles.

RTÉ Investigates: Covid19 – The Third Wave at 9.35pm on RTÉ One.

Pic: RTÉ

Stuck in the Rough.

An RTÉ Investigates documentary following the stories of several rough sleepers on Dublin’s streets over the past three months. Including Dan Orlovs (above) who…

…has contended with more than most 20-year olds: at the age of 10, able to say little more than his name and age in English, he moved to Ireland with his mother. At 15 years of age he became homeless. Dan and his mother became estranged. For the next four years he slept on friends’ couches, before ending up living on the streets of Dublin in July 2020.

RTÉ Investigates: Stuck in the Rough, at 9.35pm on RTÉ One. 

Aftermath of the Belturbet Bomb, County Cavan, December 28, 1972

RTÉ Investigates – Belturbet: A Bomb That Time Forgot.

RTÉ Investigates writes:

In 1972, just three days after Christmas, a no-warning car bomb killed two teenagers and injured nine others in Belturbet County.Cavan. In a special documentary RTÉ Investigates uncovers a crippling lack of trust between police services north and south, questions the political will to bring those behind the Belturbet bomb to justice, and reveals new evidence that British security forces failed to act on credible information, allowing militant loyalists to operate freely in South Fermanagh.

RTÉ Investigates – Belturbet: A Bomb That Time Forgot at 9.35pm on RTÉ One

Pic: Paddy Ronaghan


On RTÉ One, at 9.35pm, RTÉ Investigates will broadcast a programme examining the repeated failures of the former Catholic Boy Scouts of Ireland and the Scouting Association of Ireland in relation to sex abuse allegations.

The broadcast of Scouts Dishonour comes as Scouting Ireland, set up in 2003, continues to carry out its own historic review of how sex abuse allegations have been handled, with a report due out next February.

Reporter Oonagh Smyth told Audrey Carville, on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, that tonight’s documentary includes the case of one man who was first reported in 1987 and again in 1996.

However, the man wasn’t removed from the scouts until last year – when he was arrested.

She also referred to a briefing note prepared for the Minister for Children Katherine Zappone last year by Scouting Ireland’s CEO John Lawlor – that Ms Smyth and her team got under the Freedom of Information Act.

She said this states many records went missing in the 1990s from both the former Catholic Boy Scouts of Ireland and the Scouting Association of Ireland and that there were people in the organisations who were prepared to facilitate the abuse and prevent cases from coming to light.

Ms Smyth said survivors are calling for a more independent inquiry than the review being currently undertaken by Scouting Ireland.

She also said the most recent figures indicate that 247 alleged perpetrators of abuse and 401 alleged cases of sexual abuse within the scouts have been identified.

Public inquiry urged into Scouting Ireland’s handling of abuse claims (Oonagh Smyth, RTÉ)

Listen back in full here

Minister for Children Katherine Zappone; clip from RTE Investigates: Creches – Behind Closed Doors which was broadcast on July 24 last

On Wednesday, July 24 last, RTÉ’s Investigates broadcast a report about the standards of care at the Hyde & Seek Childcare company.

The report, called Creches – Behind Closed Doors, exposed failings in the standard of care provided to children in a number of the company’s branches across Dublin.

A Garda investigation into some issues raised in the report was launched after the broadcast.

Further to this…

Aoife Hegarty, of RTÉ, reports today that concerns about the company were raised with the Minister for Children Katherine Zappone more than a year ago.

Ms Hegarty reports:

Correspondence obtained by Fianna Fáil TD Anne Rabbitte shows Minister Zappone received a copy of a complaint forwarded to the Child & Family Agency TUSLA from a parent regarding the Hyde & Seek crèche at Glasnevin on Dublin’s northside.

The new purpose-built facility operated for 14 months without registration.

…The complaint from the parent, which detailed a series of issues with child-to-staff ratios and other safety concerns, was first shared with Minister for Finance Paschal Donohue, who subsequently forwarded it to Minister Zappone.

Minister Zappone acknowledged the crèche was not registered with TUSLA, but said it would be inappropriate for her to interfere in the agency’s ongoing investigations.

Zappone alerted to concerns at Hyde & Seek Childcare more than a year ago (Aoife Hegarty, RTE)

Watch the RTE Prime Time investigation back in full here

Yesterday: Misleading Survivors And The Dáil


A day after the RTE Investigates documentary was broadcast…

This morning.

Further to last night’s RTÉ Investigates which revealed a pattern of disturbing behaviour and practices at Hyde and Seek crèches, including fire-safety breaches and rough handling of children….

Ms Zappone told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland that she had been deeply upset by the revelations and she urged parents to “listen to their gut” if they were concerned about their child’s care.

She was particularly concerned that despite regulations and improvements that “this appalling behaviour is happening.”

However, when asked if she would be seeking the closure of the Hyde & Seek chain, she said that as Minister she did not want to say anything that would “inhibit the process.”

Latest: Katherine Zappone shocked by Hyde and Seek creche revelations (irish Examiner)

Yesterday: Staying In Tonight?


RTÉ can reveal that one of the owners of the Hyde & Seek Childcare crèche chain in Dublin, Anne Davy, is to step down and take no future role in front line childcare provision as a result of findings to be revealed in an RTÉ Investigates documentary.

The programme to be broadcast tonight, went undercover to look at standards of care in the company…RTÉ had two undercover researchers successfully apply for childcare positions with the Hyde & Seek company….


RTÉ Investigates: Crèches, Behind Closed Doors at 9.35pm on RTÉ One.

Crèche owner to stand down after concerns raised over care (RTÉ)



Staying in tonight?

RTÉ Investigates – Greyhounds, Running for Their Lives.

Via RTÉ:

The Irish Greyhound Board paid consultancy firm Preferred Results Ltd €115,000 to prepare a business analysis report in 2017.

It stated that 16,000 greyhounds are born each year, of which 5,987 are killed because they fail to make qualification times or their performance declines.

The report estimated 1000% more pups are bred than racing actually needs.

It proposed comprehensive reforms which were not adopted by the IGB.

Across the country RTÉ Investigates looked for evidence of what happened the unwanted dogs.

30 licensed knackeries in Ireland were contacted and – half of them, 15, said they would kill greyhounds for prices ranging from €10 to €35 each….

RTÉ Investigates – Greyhounds, Running for Their Lives at 9.35pm on RTÉ One.

Pic: RTÉ