Garda deny taking kids from mother and giving them to ‘persons unknown’
THE Garda National Immigration Bureau denied in the High Court today that it had taken two children aged eight and five from their Ballymun-based mother, Gloria Okeralen, and “distributed them to persons unknown.”
Barrister Anthony Moore, counsel for the Minister for Justice, told Mr Justice Michael White that the children, now missing according to the Ms Okeralen, had not been taken by the gardai and were not in the custody of the gardai or the HSE.
He said the High Court had been told last Monday in an Article 40 application seeking the mother’s release from Mountjoy Women’s Prison, that gardai had taken the children when they called at the mother’s home to send her back to Nigeria on foot of a deportation order.
Mr Moore said the mother concerned had in fact signed a written authorisation for her two children to be placed with friends. It had apparently transpired that the children had been passed into the care of the family’s Pastor and then to other unknown family friends.
He told the court that an order for deportation had been made against the woman in 2009 after she had exhausted all of the appeal apparatus open to her. Since then she had disappeared until last week when gardai, who had called to her home, discovered she was the subject of the outstanding deportation order.
Mr Moore said she had been taken into custody and placed in Mountjoy Women’s Prison. Her children, on her signed authorisation, had been left with friends. When Immigration Bureau members had called back to the woman’s friends to collect the children so they could be deported with her, they could not be traced.
Judge White said that when the application regarding an Article 40 inquiry into the legality of the detention of the woman came before him last Monday the court had not been informed of the full facts of the case or that she had “disappeared off the face of the earth” since the deportation order was made in 2009.
Killian McMorrow, counsel for Ms Okeralen, of College View, Ballymun, Dublin, said that when he had made the application he had not been in possession of the full file regarding her deportation.
In the affidavit presented to the court by Mr McMorrow last Monday the woman’s solicitor, Gerard Cullen, said he had written to the Minister on August 30 seeking to revoke the 2009 deportation order.
He said new information had come to light that Ms Okeralen had been trafficked into the European Union 15 years ago for sexual exploitation that had taken place over a prolonged period.
“She bears certain scars which objectively demonstrate branding or indentured servitude for sexual purposes,” Mr Cullen stated.
He said he had written to the Minister on Monday seeking a suspension or variation of the deportation order pending further investigations into the new information regarding the sexual trafficking of the woman and the reckless abandonment of her children.
Judge White directed that both parties provide the court by 11 o’clock tomorrow (Thursday) with full affidavits of evidence relating to the deportation file dating back to before 2009 and what had occurred since the woman’s arrest last week.