Friday 20 July 2018

Troubled home alone girl (17) has baby taken into care after arrest

Dublin Children's Court
Dublin Children's Court

Tom Tuite

A teenage girl’s baby was taken into care after she was arrested in connection with a theft offence and claimed she had lived for the past few days in a boarded up house.

Dublin Children’s Children’s Court heard the home alone 17-year-old girl’s parents, who are non-nationals, were out of the country and she claimed she had been living in the abandoned house in north Dublin.

Judge John O’Connor said there were concerns for her welfare and asked Tusla, the Child and Family Agency to attend the proceedings when they resume tomorrow.

The girl, who cannot be named because she is a minor, is charged with stealing groceries worth €38 from a shop on a date in June. A bench warrant was issued on November 21 last when she failed to appear at the juvenile court for a hearing.

The teen was arrested on Tuesday at a shopping centre in Dublin and appeared before Judge O’Connor at the Children’s Court on Wednesday.

The court heard that following her arrest, gardai invoked Section 12 of the Childcare Act allowing the girl’s baby to be removed from her and placed in temporary emergency care. Attempts were made to contact the teen’s parents but they were not in the country, Judge O’Connor heard.

The girl, who did not require an interpreter, told the judge her parents were out of the country and she had been staying at a house in the city’s north-side. However, Garda Sergeant Seamus Treacy told the court that address was “is boarded up” and as far as he was concerned there girl was no longer residing there.

The girl told the court she had come back to Ireland in recent days but her father was still out of the country. She agreed that she would reside at another address with a woman claiming to be her aunt and her partner who attended the hearing. She also agreed to obey a curfew.

However, the judge said he not be certain about the couple’s relationship with the girl. He also said there were concerns whether the girl would turn up to court.

He said the teen was a very young girl, very vulnerable and has a baby. He told her barrister that Tusla had to be contacted and needed to have a representative in court when the case resumed. He said it was very rare that a child is taken into emergency care by gardai and “obviously there are huge concerns”.

The judge told her not to be afraid of the court and that there were concerns for her; the teen replied, “No, it is grand”. She also explained that she had not known about her previous court hearing date and that she had recently returned to Ireland.

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