Irish Roma children returned to parents after DNA tests
Justice Minister has 'concerns' about removal of children in wake of Greece's 'Blonde Angel' case
IRISH authorities have been forced to defend their decision to remove two children from Roma families after DNA tests proved they both belonged to the parents with whom they lived.
The Irish children – a seven-year-old girl and a two-year-old boy – were taken from their parents by police this week following international coverage of a case in Greece involving a four-year-old called Maria. The blonde, green-eyed girl was taken from her Roma parents who are facing charges of abduction and falsifying documents.
Both of the Irish children, who were taken from their families by police because "they did not resemble the couples who claimed to be their biological parents", have been returned to their families, the Irish Times reports.
Ireland's Minister for Justice Alan Shatter says he has "concerns" about both cases and has asked for a report from the Garda Commissioner. But he insisted police had acted in "good faith" and he wants to ensure they continue their important role in the protection of children while also trying to ensure that the type of situation that had arisen in these cases "can be avoided insofar as that is possible".
The parents of the seven-year-old girl said they were "absolutely delighted" their daughter had been returned, but believe she should never have been taken away from them.
"They do not accept that this was any proper or sufficient basis to take their daughter away from them," a statement issued on their behalf said. "They believe that there are very serious questions arising about the procedures used in this case but are going to wait for things to settle and then consider their position and that of their daughter in light of recent events and will be taking legal advice in respect of this."
The Irish Times says the girl's parents gave police a date for her birth at a Dublin hospital, but checks failed to find any record of her delivery. It later emerged that the hospital did have a record of her birth under the mother's maiden name. ·