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Girl found wandering in snow case serves as warning, says doctor

The circumstances surrounding the court case of a five-year-old girl found wandering in the snow should serve as a wake-up call for other parents, a local GP has warned.

Dr Josephine Deehan, who is also an Omagh councillor, made the comments after a judge cleared the youngster’s parents of neglect. “I respect the magistrate’s ruling in the matter. He has exonerated the parents of the child and we must respect that,” she told the Belfast Telegraph last night.

“But I do think the case raises some concern and some issues surrounding child protection. I think it’s been a wake-up call for all parents in respect of their responsibilities to ensure their children are fully protected at all times.

“There were a number troubling aspects to the case but nonetheless the parents have been exonerated and we must respect that judgment.”

The discovery of the little girl outside a supermarket in Omagh sent shockwaves around the local community.

Dr Deehan added: “Thankfully this case has had a happy ending. No harm has come to the children and I do hope that all parents can learn from this case.

“I am a believer in the justice procedure and there have been very long proceedings in respect of this case. All the evidence has been presented and the judge has made his ruling.

“He felt this was an event that they could not have anticipated. Thankfully we are not dealing with a fatality but I reiterate that I think there are lessons for all parents in terms of how they discharge their duty of care towards children.”

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