Cross-border alert issued for missing children and their father
Gardai have contacted the PSNI for assistance
Police in the Republic have issued a cross-border alert and called on the help of the Police Service of Northern Ireland in helping to locate two missing children and their father.
Sanjeev Chada (43) and youngsters Eoghan, aged 10, and Ruairi, aged five, were last seen at 6.30pm last night on their way from their home in Ballinkill, Bagenalstown, Co Carlow, to go bowling.
It is the first time a Child Rescue Ireland (CRI) alert has been issued for missing children since the system was put in place last year.
The father and his children were reported missing at 1.30am this morning.
Mr Chada left the family home with the youngsters to go to the Dome Bowling Centre in Carlow town and has not contacted his family since.
He is driving a green Ford Focus, with the registration number 06 CW 238.
Garda sources said Mr Chada was not estranged from the mother of their children and that they are not aware of any difficulties in the couple's relationship.
Eoghan is described as 4ft 10in, of medium build with black shoulder-length hair. He was wearing navy tracksuit bottoms, a dark top and white trainers.
Ruairi is described as 3ft 10in, with short black hair and brown eyes. He has a slight scar above his right eye. He was wearing a red and white Middlesbrough jersey.
Mr Chada is described as 6ft, with shoulder-length hair and wearing a dark top.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Carlow Garda Station, or any Garda station.
The Child Rescue Ireland system is designed to help gardai locate an abducted child where there is serious concern for the youngster's safety.
It is only used if the child is under 18; if there is a reasonable belief that he or she has been abducted; if it believed there is an immediate and serious risk to their health or welfare; and there is sufficient information available to enable the public to assist gardai in locating the child.
The emergency response is run with the support of the Health Service Executive and alerts can be transmitted on electronic signs operated by the National Roads Authority, Irish Rail, Bus Eireann, and Dublin City Council.
The internet and social media is also used to raise awareness as quickly as possible.
There were 13 child abductions in Ireland in 2011, 20 in 2010, and 14 in 2009 but more than 130 youngsters who went missing in Ireland between 2007 and 2011 are still unaccounted for.
The Child Rescue Ireland alert is modelled on the Amber Alert which began in the US in 1996 when broadcasters teamed up with local police to develop an early warning system - including sharing photos and information - to help find abducted children.
Amber - America's Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response - was created as a legacy to nine-year-old Amber Hagerman, who was kidnapped while riding her bicycle in Arlington, Texas.
Belfast Telegraph Digital