The State agency that distributes funding for childcare services, Pobal, has said its staff did not see any evidence of child protection issues during 13 visits to a Hyde and Seek crèche, located on Tolka Road in Drumcondra, Dublin.

The créche was the subject of an RTÉ Investigates programme in July.

An early years specialist working under Pobal's Better Start programme visited the crèche 13 times between November 2015 and September 2016, according to a response to a parliamentary question from Fianna Fáil TD Shane Cassells.

The specialist made recommendations to the crèche on how to improve quality, but the shortcomings highlighted by RTÉ were not contained in their report.

In response to questions from Mr Cassells at the Dáil's Public Accounts Committee (PAC), Deputy Chief Executive of Pobal Jerry Murphy said: "The types of issues that were highlighted ... absolutely our staff were not aware of and did not see any evidence of the type of child protection issues."

He said the supports provided in the Better Start programme are around the curriculum and the learning environment, but that where Pobal staff become aware of any child protection issues "there is an immediate process for passing on that information to Tusla which is the regulatory agency".

Mr Cassells said that a "plethora" of State agencies and Government departments are involved in early years and childcare, each with their own area of responsibility, and as a result "things fall between the cracks".

He said: "That's how things get missed, if everyone is working in silos."  


Read More: 


Mr Cassells said: "We had 13 visits to this crèche and the nub of their sphere was to deal with the learning environment.

"This is a significant amount of money that is being spent on the Better Start early years specialists programme - €7.9m this year - next year it's going to be €9.7m, an increase of nearly €2m, did nobody see anything in terms of the broader environment?"

Mr Cassells asked if the reports had been re-examined by Pobal in light of the recent revelations about Hyde and Seek.