Belfast Telegraph

Roma family cases sent to ombudsman

Reports from the garda and health chiefs on the removal of two children from separate Roma families have been sent to the Children's Ombudsman.

Emily Logan, who has been given special powers to investigate the force's handling of the cases, is taking the lead on inquiries into the controversial cases.

One internal report has been sent from the Department of Children and Youth Affairs and a second is from the Department of Justice.

Ms Logan's office declained to comment as her investigation is continuing.

The youngsters, a girl aged seven and a two-year-old boy, were taken from their parents over the course of two days last month after members of the public reported they were not the families' children.

The claims were unfounded.

A blonde-haired, blue-eyed girl was taken from her south Dublin home for 48 hours while the boy, also fair haired, was removed from his home in Athlone in the Midlands.

Both children were subsequently proven to be members of the families with the girl returned home after DNA tests.

Justice Minister Alan Shatter gave Ms Logan the power to investigate the cases, under section 42 of the Criminal Justice Act 2007, even though her remit normally stops her from probing the garda.

Ms Logan already had the power to examine the role and actions of the Health Service Executive (HSE) where there are concerns a child has been adversely affected by actions or if there are suspicions of maladministration.

The Garda Ombudsman also sought a copy of the report from the Department of Justice.


From Belfast Telegraph