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Monday 27 January 2020

Fate dealt cruel blows to a vulnerable young man

Edel Kennedy and Tom Tuite

One of six children, Daniel McAnaspie came to the attention of the Health Service Executive (HSE) at an early age.

The 17-year-old was on its radar from 2003 but fate dealt a series of cruel blows after he lost his parents at a young age.

His father, Leo Carroll, died at the age of just 36 in 2006 and a year later his mother, Martina, passed away at the age of just 37.

He was placed with relatives but as he became older he began to fall in with the "wrong crowd".

However, Daniel was not involved in any criminality and was seen as a vulnerable young man.

At that point, he was in the full-time care of the HSE -- but he began to go missing with alarming frequency.

Unable to read or write, he went missing 20 times while under the care of the State.

The slim, tall boy had been missing since February 25 and was last seen in the Blanchardstown area of west Dublin.

His body, which had sustained several stab wounds, was found at Rathfeigh, near Duleek in Co Meath, last week.

The youth had made appearances at the Children's Court in Dublin.


However, he was not a repeat offender and just faced one charge for stealing a television set from a care home in which he had been residing.

With no prior criminal convictions, he had been on bail awaiting sentence when he went missing.

During the Children's Court proceedings, garda concerns had been raised over the level of care afforded to the tragic teen.

And last month, his solicitor in the Children's Court case, Gareth Noble, gave a summary of the boy's situation to Judge Heather Perrin.

Explaining the boy's background and absence from the proceedings on April 26 last, Mr Noble told the court that the teen's parents were dead and he had been the subject of a "full care order".

However, a number of the HSE care placements he had been given "broke down".

Mr Noble had said that after these proceedings had begun, the teenager had been moved into another care home in north Dublin, which is where he had last resided.

He had told the judge that a guardian ad litem had been appointed to the boy during separate childcare proceedings in another court in Dublin.

"The guardian was hoping that the court would make an order for a placement in Sweden, which the guardian identified as appropriate for him," Mr Noble said.

This referred to Hassela Gotland, a special-care unit providing therapy and help for extremely troubled teens.

It is located on a remote island in the middle of the Baltic Sea and in recent years two other Irish children have been sent there for help.

The court was also told an application for "secure care" for the boy had been dismissed in May last year.

The judge had adjourned the then missing boy's case until a date in June.

Irish Independent

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