REPORT INTO REMOVAL OF ROMA CHILDREN PUBLISHED
The report into the removal of two Roma children from their families says physical dissimilarities with their parents was not a sufficient basis for suspecting their abduction.
The investigation by the Children’s Ombudsman Emily Logan says that in the case of the boy in Athlone gardai did not have enough information to suggest the child was abducted.
In the case involving the young girl in Tallaght, the report finds the concerns of gardai should have been alleviated after a birth certificate was provided by the Coombe Hospital.
It says “The readiness to believe ‘Child A’ may have been abducted exceeded the evidence available to An Garda Síochána and was tied inextricably to the fact that ‘Child A’s family is Roma”.
“The actions of An Garda Síochána in this case conformed to the definition of ethnic profiling” it adds.
The inquiry found that whatever doubts An Garda Síochána had over ‘Child A’ “should have been decisively put to rest” when they were informed by the father that the child had albinism.
It also says that DNA testing is not a “proportionate measure” to use in circumstances where there is a significant amount of alternative information that could attest to the relationship between a child and his or her parents.
The separate cases came to light last October when a Roma girl (7) was taken from her parents home in Tallaght and a boy (2) was removed from his home in Athlone following concerns about their identities.
The children were placed into state care but were later returned to their parents after DNA testing.
Former Justice Minister Alan Shatter ordered the cases in Dublin and Westmeath be looked into last December.
The report was received by the govenrment on April 23nd, but certain legal matters had to be attended to on the advice of the Attorney-General.
The Taoiseach has apologised to the two Roma families, and says the coalition fully accepts the recommendations of the report adding that this should never have happened.
“I do apologise to those families, and particularly the children, who had to put up with these events” he said.
“The report recommends that the Minister for Justice should maker an apology to the families and the Minister for Justice will do that”.
“But…these kind of events should not happen to anybody in our jurisdiction – and nobody can afford to stand over that, or can stand over it” he added.