Tag Archives: rte investigates

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

Last night.

‘Bridget M’ writes:

Credit where it’s due…[last night’s] RTÉ Investigates [on anabolic steroids] was public service broadcasting at its best… I think it will change the whole culture around steroid use among young men in Ireland..It was well-researched and pretty terrifying for any parent… I have an idea who the social influencer [mentioned during the show] could be but does anyone know why they weren’t named?


Watch back here

RTE Investigates Uncovers Steroid Use (RTÉ)


On RTÉ One’s Prime Time, at 9.35pm.


Frank Shouldice, of RTÉ Investigates, reports:

Your Service Your Say is a bedrock of HSE public policy. It invites, even encourages, those who use any of its many health services to step forward with a comment or complaint when the occasion arises.

This means everybody – from hospital patients to their families and friends.

In promoting a Your Service Your Say policy the National Healthcare Charter boldly declares: “Your feedback matters – tell us about your experience so that we can have your concerns addressed.”

It promises to “involve you and your family and carers in decision-making about your healthcare.”

This is not the experience of the five people who feature in RTÉ Investigates – Troublemakers, which airs on Prime Time tonight.

Daring to challenge HSE’s comment, complaint service (Frank Shouldice, RTE)

Monaghan County Councillor Hugh McElvaney speaking to an undercover reporter on an RTÉ Investigates programme in 2015

In 2015, an undercover reporter for RTÉ Investigates presented themselves to former Fine Gael Monaghan County Councillor Hugh McElvaney as a representative of a fictitious firm called Vinst Opportunities which, Mr McElvaney was told, wanted to set up wind farms in Ireland.

During their meeting, Mr McElvaney told the RTÉ reporter that he would help the company get planning permission.

Asked how much he was looking for, he told the reporter:

“Ten grand would be a start.”

Further to this…

The Standards In Public Office Commission writes:

“The investigation hearing into the alleged contraventions of the Ethical Framework for Local Government Service by Councillor Hugh McElvaney of Monaghan County Council will commence at 9.30am on Monday, 17 September 2018, at the offices of the Standards in Public Office Commission at 18 Lower Leeson Street, Dublin 2.

“There will be a limited number of space available for the public who may wish to attend.”

Mr McElvaney is still a Monghan County Councillor but he is no longer with Fine Gael.

Update – Investigation Hearing 17 September 2018 (SIPO)

Previously: “What’s In It For Me?”

Decent Irish Graft

From last night’s RTÉ Investigates programme Chaos In Care

Last night.

On RTÉ One.

Aoife Hegarty, of RTÉ Investigates, presented a report entitled Chaos In Care.

It examined how certain vulnerable children, in the care of the State, have been harrowingly failed by the State.

It also looked at cases from the report published yesterday by the Special Rapporteur on Child Protection Dr Geoffrey Shannon which looked at the use of Section 12 of the Child Care Act 1991 by An Garda Siochana.

Section 12 of the act allows gardai to remove a child if they believe there is a serious risk to the child’s health or welfare.

In one particular case, Ms Hegarty reported:

In 2011 a young boy living in voluntary foster care – who we’ve named ‘Mark’ – told his birth mother [‘Susan’] he had been inappropriately touched by another, male foster child twice his age who was also living with the same foster family.

‘Susan’ – which is not her real name – discovered ‘Mark’ had made a similar allegation to his foster parent 5 weeks earlier but it had not been reported to the HSE.

‘Susan’ asked to have ‘Mark’ moved from the foster placement while an investigation took place – this did not happen. 

Instead a safety plan was put in place by the HSE. – this consisted of little more than an instruction to the foster parents that the two boys – who had been sharing a bedroom – “should have separate bedrooms and that the [foster] carers should supervise” them closely.

Two months later, the HSE referred ‘Mark’ for assessment by child sexual abuse experts.

The experts concluded that ‘Mark’ gave “a credible account of experiencing inappropriate sexual behaviour by his foster sibling”.

But while ‘Mark’ was assessed, it appears from case notes that his foster sibling was not.

Over the following months ‘Mark’ displayed sexualised behaviour and ‘Susan’ repeatedly reported this to the social work department.

[‘Susan’ said: “He was using his teddy bear to, pushing it up against his genitals, it was like he was imitating what had been done to him. Yeah he was saying ‘touch me you cunt’, he tried to kiss his older brother, he put his hand on his inner thigh and tried to kiss him in an adult way.”]

‘Susan’ believed her concerns were not being taken seriously by social workers so she reported the matter to the Gardaí asking them to investigate. 

In fact cases notes seen by RTÉ Investigates show that An Garda Síochána were “…quite irate…” at the management of Mark’s case by the HSE social work department – stating that the Gardaí…. “Would have a different view of child sexual abuse…” The HSE decided to leave ‘Mark’ in the foster home despite his birth mother’s concerns.

Almost 3 years later… ‘Mark’ made a second allegation – this time to a TUSLA staff member that he was being punched by the same older foster child AND by an adult son of the foster family.

The foster parents were again advised by the social work department to “increase supervision” of the boys and ‘Susan’ was informed about the allegation.

In late 2015 TUSLA applied to the courts for a full care order for ‘Mark’. 

As part of the court process ‘Susan’ was required to produce two psychiatric assessment reports carried out on the state of her mental health. ‘Susan’ agreed.

But what ‘Susan’ didn’t understand was that she would be personally billed by her doctor for the reports – €500 for the first report and €300 for the second one

On one occasion she was forced to take out a loan from her credit union to cover the cost.

In an initial statement to RTÉ, TUSLA said it “…does not require individuals to undertake psychiatric assessments at their own expense…”

However when we went back and asked TUSLA to explain why ‘Susan’ ended up paying  her doctors bill, a spokesperson said they “…cannot comment on individual cases…”

Last year the court ruled that ‘Mark’ will stay in care until the age of 18.

‘Mark’ continues to live with the same foster family to the present day – along with the older child alleged to have previously abused him.

Watch Chaos In Care in full here

This morning.

It’s being reported that a report by the Government’s Special Rapporteur on Child Protection Dr Geoffrey Shannon (above) on Ireland’s child protection system – looking at 5,400 cases, from 2008 to 2015, where gardaí removed children from their parents under Section 12 of the Child Care Act – is to be published.

It will be published by Assistant Garda Commissioner John O’Driscoll.

Section 12 of the act allows gardai to remove a child if they believe there is a serious risk to the child’s health or welfare.

It’s being reported that both Tusla and the gardaí are criticised in the report.

Further to this.

Aoife Hegarty, of RTÉ Investigates, spoke to Audrey Carville on Morning Ireland earlier, ahead of her own report on the matter this evening.

Ms Hegarty said, in addition to a report on Mr Shannon’s examination, she’ll be looking at “disturbing revelations” concerning a boy in the south east of Ireland.

Ms Hegarty said:

“We’ve been following a number of child protection cases. They include a case that’s currently before the courts in which our child protection services again come under the spotlight. In terms of the actions that the Child Family Agency Tusla has, or indeed hasn’t, taken in terms of vulnerable children.

We also examine another case which we came across again a child was left in a foster placement, despite allegations of sexual abuse and we’ll show various documentation from that case which we’ve seen and lastly, we’ll feature new revelations on the quality of care provided by child protection services in the south east.

“I suppose by now we’re all well familiar with the very sad story of Grace, that young woman with profound intellectual disabilities who was left in a foster home in the south east for 20 years, despite serious allegations, a woman who was recently awarded over €6million in the High Court.

But tonight, we reveal yet more disturbing revelations from the Waterford area. This time in relation to the care provided to a young boy. In all, the programme raises very serious questions for our child protection authorities and whether, in all cases, they’re functioning adequately.

RTÉ Investigates is on RTÉ One at 10.35pm this evening.

Call for cultural change in child protection system (RTE)

From top: last night’s  RTÉ Investigates featuring Former UL president Don Barry ;  Aengus Ó Maoláin

Further to revelations broadcast last night by RTÉ Investigates about lack of oversight and accountability in publicly funded universities and colleges in Ireland

Aengus Ó Maoláin writes:

Last night, higher education institutions were exposed as misusing public money for years, all the while insisting that they were broke, and that students must pay more.

A change in culture, and consequences must follow.

For the ten years I have been working for equality of access to higher education, the Irish university’s representative body has stood in our way.

Expressing the greatest sympathy for our calls, but regretfully insisting that the universities are so strapped for cash that they must call for higher and higher tuition fees. Year on year, that call has been answered by government, and Irish students now pay the second highest fees in Europe.

Strangely enough, in most other countries the universities don’t do that.

Those fees make up one part of university’s funding, the other significant part is direct funding from the Department of Education, through the Higher Education Authority – in other words, taxpayers’ money.

The universities have come crying to government time and again with their begging bowls in hand, on bended knee insisting that the solution to all their financial problems is for the students to cough up more. In other countries, the institutions lobby for more cash from the department, rather than fees.

It was an open secret when I was in the student movement that universities have a mostly free hand to spend their budgets how they will, but that open secret was blown open by RTÉ Investigates last night.

When any body is allowed to become a private fiefdom, corruption is inevitable, and so it is with the higher education system.

The bare-faced nature of crying out for higher student fees, all the while wantonly wasting the money already granted by the state is offensive.

Like Social democrats co-leader Catherine Murphy said on the programme last night, I am not disappointed by this, I am actually angry about it.

I served on the governing authority of Maynooth University several years ago, as president of the students’ union. There was at that time a great deal of trust in the financial management of the university’s accounts, and the authority’s audit committee had the full confidence of the body.

I wonder now what we might have missed. I recall clearly a frustration that we never received training on financial oversight, or our corporate governance obligations – but, sure, why would you bother spending that time or money on students?

Now when I see the sums being misspent in the institutions investigated it infuriates me that so much was diverted away from the universities’ core missions – education and research. Remember, this is our money.

Professor Don Barry of the University of Limerick treated the public accounts committee with absolute disdain. His attitude was deplorable – how dare these politicians pry into my financial affairs – but it’s not his money, it is ours.

NUI Galway’s Professor James Browne also refused, point blank, to discuss the financial management of its foundation, insisting that that little pot of money was no business of the people we have elected to make sure our money is being used for the right purposes.

The governing authorities of all the institutions have to be called into question now. The backhander of jewellery bought at Tadhg Kearney’s shop by UL is astonishing, as no conflict of interest was declared, and worse, that he was told he wouldn’t need to declare it despite being a member of the authority himself.

Universities do need a certain level of autonomy, if you examine higher education systems where that autonomy has been badly eroded (Turkey springs to mind) it is clear why. Research and teaching curriculum must be free from political interference, lest we go down a road towards indoctrination over education.

But, when that autonomy is abused, as has been the case here, there is a time to get involved.

Whistle blowers suspended and dismissed, treated with contempt; Executives approving their own expenses; External contracts signed with internal buddies of the management team – this is the sort of thing we got so angry about when it was exposed in the banking system.

There is to be an independent review of UL’s governance, HR and financial practices. I welcome that, of course, but what is needed is a change in culture. Corruption festers, and like a bad apple, spreads to the rest of the batch. We cannot allow universities to continue deceiving us, and misusing our money without consequences.

Our call for an independent anti-corruption agency was opposed by Fine Gael last year, but it is crystal clear to me that something more needs to be done.

Catherine Murphy’s final remarks on the RTÉ programme last night resonate powerfully “There needs to be consequences, or you won’t change behaviour.”

Aengus Ó Maoláin is chair of the Dublin West Social Democrats and local area representative for Castleknock and Blanchardstown.

Watch RTÉ Investigates Universities Unchallenged here

Top pic: RTÉ