Crèche owner breached HSE childcare regulations

A professional childcare worker and owner of a crèche in Castlebar was found in breach of HSE childcare regulations.

Castlebar District Court heard evidence from Ms Catherine Lavin, a pre-school officer with the HSE, who visited Toni’s Montessori, 1 Summerfield, Castlebar, which is owned by Toni Hamrock, on September 8 2010.

That day there were five babies under one year, seven one to two year olds, and 10 toddlers at the crèche.

Ms Lavin found that a wheelie bin, located near the entrance, was overflowing with used nappies. Paint cans and building materials were also found near the bin. Upstairs in a sleeproom, which had cots in it, but which was not in use, a long cord of a window blind was hanging down near a cot.

The premises was again visited this week and these issues had been addressed.

Jennifer Bernard, area childcare services manager, also visited the premises, where she noted that there was no fire certificate for the two-storey premises — the fire certificate was only for the first floor. In October a fire certificate for the entire building was obtained.

Solicitor for Hamrock, Tom Walsh, said that on the day in question the bins were due for collection and children were not able to get anywhere near the bin. As for the cord on the blind, it was one inch longer than required and had now been removed. Mr Walsh also explained that when cots are in use they are moved to the centre of the room away from the window.

The defendant, who has been working in childcare for past 18 years, was convicted and fined €500 by Judge Mary Devins. The judge also directed €750 be paid towards costs.

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