Three children who were the subject of an all-Ireland alert after going missing with their mother were found asleep in the back seat of their family car by an off-duty police officer.
The Roscommon-based family were found at a garage forecourt in Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh, at 7.30am yesterday by a PSNI officer who kept watch while uniformed officers were called.
Their discovery followed a major Garda operation after a Child Rescue Ireland alert was issued at 3.30am.
It has emerged that the 41-year-old mother-of-five had been hospitalised last week for a recurring health problem.
The woman and her three children, aged eight, six and two, were last seen at 3pm on Wednesday at a village in Co Roscommon, when she had collected two of her children from school. The alarm was raised by neighbours when the family did not return home by 9pm.
"The children were asleep on the back seat," said Jason Moncrieff, who works at the Lochside Vauxhall garage in Enniskillen.
"Two police cars arrived, coming in both entrances, and a woman police officer approached the car and spoke through the window to the woman driver and she appeared to be also speaking to the children on the back seat."
He said the off-duty officer remained at the scene, parked a short distance away.
"It happened just after 8am because I'd just heard the alert on the radio and when I pulled into work I saw the Galway-registered car and I knew straight away that that was the car," Mr Moncrieff said.
The woman was later detained at Enniskillen police station under the mental health act.