A judge has refused to approve a settlement of compensation for psychological injuries at a crèche, saying that the case should go to a full court hearing.
Emilie Kiely (4) from Sandyford in Dublin started attending the Giraffe Childcare and Early Learning Centre in Stepaside, Dublin, in 2011 when she was eight months old. The following September – when Emilie was moved to the “Toddlers Room” – she started showing signs of distress as she was being prepared to go to the crèche.
In May 2013, RTE broadcast the Prime Time documentary “A Breach of Trust” – a program which exposed the Giraffe Childcare and Early Learning Centre as one of three crèches at which children were mistreated. Emilie´s parents reacted to seeing one of their daughter´s carers screaming at children by withdrawing Emilie from the crèche.
Emilie´s father sought legal advice and – on behalf of his daughter – claimed compensation for psychological injuries at the crèche. In his legal action John Kiely claimed that Emilie had suffered psychological injuries such as stress, emotional upset and terror due to the mistreatment she had received at the Giraffe Childcare and Early Learning Centre.
The owners of the Giraffe Childcare and Early Learning Centre contested the allegations, but made an offer of settlement amounting to €15,000 without admission of liability. As the offer of settlement related to a claim made on behalf of a child, it had to be approved by a judge to ensure that it was in Emilie´s best interests before the offer could be accepted.
At the hearing before Judge James O´Donohue at the Circuit Civil Court in Dublin, James Kiely told the court that his daughter would cry “No crèche! No crèche!” before going to the childcare facility and was clearly distressed. Judge O´Donohue ruled that the proposed settlement of compensation for psychological injuries at a crèche was insufficient for the level of injury it was claimed that Emilie had suffered.
The judge said that it would be in Emilie´s best interests if the claim for compensation for psychological injuries at a crèche was heard by another judge at a full court hearing. Judge O´Donohue´s ruling will have implications for up to twenty-five other claims that have been made on behalf of children attending the crèches featured in the Prime Time documentary.