Wednesday 13 November 2019

Baby to be fostered as fears for mother grow

Gardaí close the road in Steelstown, Co Kildare, where the baby was found.
Gardaí close the road in Steelstown, Co Kildare, where the baby was found.
Conor Feehan

Conor Feehan

The mother of the newborn baby girl found abandoned in a plastic bag in west Dublin has still not come forward as gardai grow increasingly concerned for her welfare.

The child is now expected to be placed in foster care in the coming days.

The baby girl was found wrapped in a towel or blanket in a plastic bin liner, which had been folded over at the top to prevent her getting wet and cold in the torrential rain last Friday.

While the bag was folded closed, it was not sealed so there was little risk the baby would suffocate. Gardai are satisfied that the mother went to efforts to ensure her baby would be found quickly and safely.

Paramedics said the baby had been fed and nourished when she was left on the rural Steelstown Road on the Dublin border with Kildare near Rathcoole.

The tiny girl is now in a stable condition and is being cared for in The Coombe Hospital.

Items similar to those found with her are to be displayed by gardai today in an effort to trace her parents. The originals are being forensically examined.

Today, the child and family agency Tusla told the Herald that the baby would only remain in hospital until she is well enough to leave.

"She will then be placed with a foster family, probably in the coming days," a Tusla spokeswoman said.

"From our perspective, we would appeal for the girl's mother to come forward because she needs help and also to have a say in the future of her child.

"The mother will not be forced into taking her back, and she will not be judged or pressurised, but she can have a say in the child's future with regard to fostering or adoption," she added.

Only a parent can sign adoption papers, and if this cannot be done a child will remain in foster care until they are 18.

"The mum might also be able to give us some background into the child that would help find her the right home," said the Tusla spokeswoman.

"She will also be better able to move forward with her life if she is involved in the decisions for her baby's future.

If placed in foster care, the baby will be given a first name and then the courts become involved in deciding a surname before the child reaches school-going age.

Gardai have renewed their appeal for information in relation to the discovery and say a case conference will be held today.

Psychologist David Carey urged the mother – who he said is most likely in a state of worry and confusion - to come forward and seek help.

The mother’s decision to leave her baby on the side of the road was likely made during a traumatic time, and the decision is likely to haunt her for some time, he said.

“It’s almost impossible to put ourselves in the situation of what’s going through a person’s mind”

“This is not something you forget... This is something very likely to haunt a person for years and years.”

The mother would be plagued by “the confusion about should I come forward? Or should I not?... How many places should I go before someone finds me?,” the psychologist said.

“She took obvious pains to protect the baby in the best way that she could”

He said “This is a person who needs help and support and comfort, and she’ll need it for a good amount of time to come.”

“She’s going to need support and counselling for a good amount of time to come”

“I would strongly encourage her to come forward to someone and you will be treated with compassion.”

Psychologists don’t know the definitive reason why women abandon their babies.

“There are a whole host of reasons which could cause a mother to abandon her child”

“We just don’t know a lot about why mothers do these type of things,” he said.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Gardai at Clondalkin on 01 6667600.

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