The CEO of the creche, An Daoine Oga, Marie Daly, has confirmed that staff at her Beechmount facility, where two staff members and three children have tested positive for Covid19, do not wear face masks when interacting with children.

Our exclusive picture shows a staff member nursing a child last week. With the staff member clearly not wearing a face mask.

After confirming three positive test cases among children who attend her creche, and revealing all were siblings, Daly told Ken Murray, hosting LMFM’s Late Lunch show, ‘Staff do wear masks when meeting parents at the door who would be leaving children in, but when they are with the children they do not wear masks as they might scare the child.

‘The child needs to see and reacts to the staff’s facial expression, and for example if a staff member wore a mask while changing a nappy that could terrify the child.’

However HSE guidelines, citing a recommendation from the National Public Health Emergency Team, (NPHET), neither of which are mandatory or compulsory, states, ‘TThe National Public Health Emergency Team recommends the use of cloth face coverings by people aged 13 years or older in certain indoor settings.

‘This guidance is applicable in childcare settings where it does not pose a barrier to care. This includes situations where there is interaction between adults when not caring for children.’

However, one health care worker told us, ‘This applies to all creches, not just the one you mentioned, but if staff are in the canteen for lunch how are they supposed to eat while wearing masks, so in some ways that advice is impractical.

‘In the context of wearing or not wearing masks while minding a child the wording is open to interpretation, many would see it as you don’t wear a mask if it physically interferes with your ability to do the job.

‘In the case of minding children it does not do that, and remember children are adaptable they would soon get used to a minder wearing a face mask.’

An Daoine Oga did not respond to a request for comment.