Compiled by Patrick Markey
A group of Dublin parents has met with local health officials to protest about allegations of systematic abuse of their children by the staff and owners of a day care center.
Children were allegedly locked into small cubbyholes, in bathrooms and one had mustard stuffed up his nose because he was playing with the sauce, the Parents in Pursuit of Justice group has told the Northside People newspaper.
Eastern Health Board officials are to meet with concerned parents and angry parents have picketed a board office to draw attention to what they claim has been the failure of local officials to deal with the issue.
"We have consistently urged the EHB to carry out an investigation into the goings on behind the doors of this place," one mother told the paper, "but they have passed the buck on a major scale and now other children are suffering."
According to the group, children as young as a few months old have suffered at the hands of the operators of the center.
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"On a regular basis our children were either imprisoned in a bathroom or cubbyhole, or witnessed other children at the crèche imprisoned in this way," claimed one of the parents. "They were shouted and screamed at if they did not behave in accordance with the owner’s and staff members’ wishes. One child had mustard placed up his nose after he was found playing with it."
The allegations first surfaced in 1998 after one of the mothers discovered her nephew, she said, "curled up in fetal position" beside a toilet in a locked bathroom. She immediately withdrew her own 7-year-old child from the school.
She claims that her son was "seriously disturbed" by the incidents he witnessed at the center and she decided to bring him to a counselor after he revealed that other children — including himself — were often forced to wait in the bathroom as punishment for "minor infringements."
An EHB spokesperson confirmed that they were aware of the case.
"EHB officials have met with representatives of Parents in Pursuit of Justice," she said. "Issues raised at the meeting will be examined and further contact will be made with them in the near future."
No Limerick luck
While the rest of the world — well, at least the rest of Ireland — is celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with colorful parades and marches, one Limerick village may well have to do without.
According to the Limerick Leader, thousands of people who regularly attend the Adare St. Patrick’s Day Parade could be disappointed as village leaders have decided to cancel this year’s event
Not enough money? Political in-fighting? No, sewage system repairs.
The main street has been dug up to lay sewer pipes, with garish cones and high safety fencing not only at either side, but smack down the center of the street as well.
County officials told locals that the street would probably be fine for March 17, but parade organizer’s are not taking any risks. Indeed, there are fears, the paper reports, that the village’s repairs could delay people traveling to the main Limerick parade.
The roadworks have caused serious traffic snarls for more than a year. Although business leaders are concerned over the loss to their enterprises, they say safety remains the priority.
"Public safety has to come first. The parade has been canceled because it would be too dangerous due to the road. There are big holes, JCBs and diggers all over the place and in some places the path is a foot and a half above the roadway," one bar owner said.
"The County Council are saying that the road may be ready by St. Patrick’s Day, but we needed to know about two weeks ago in order to book bands," he said.
Locals hope to make up for the loss next year, when they hope the diggers have gone and the repairs have been completed.