A BABY boy was last night in the care of health authorities after being found abandoned in his buggy in the entrance to Carlow Cathedral.
The six-month-old, who was said to be well-nourished and in good health, is believed to have been the subject of a missing-persons investigation in England.
Gardai were alerted after the child had been found in his pushchair at the Cathedral of the Assumption in Carlow town at around 2pm.
Detectives are searching for a man and woman who are believed to have abandoned the little boy.
The HSE took the baby into its care last night.
The alarm was raised by a visitor to the cathedral, who alerted staff in the nearby pastoral centre.
Shortly after they arrived on the scene, gardai handed the baby over to social workers, in line with the Childcare Act.
Officers are now liaising with police in Nottinghamshire in the English midlands "with a view to bringing this investigation to a successful conclusion", a garda spokesperson said.
Police in England had been investigating the whereabouts of the child since Thursday.
Attention is now focusing on a couple who may have travelled to Ireland via a UK ferry port in recent days. Gardai are looking for a white Renault Clio, with an English registration number, which has been captured on CCTV in Carlow.
According to gardai, the baby has "no obvious connection" with this country and the Carlow location for his abandonment seems to have been chosen at random.
"The child is missing from England and is the subject of a police investigation in Nottinghamshire," said a garda spokesman.
Parish administrator Fr John Cummins said he wasn't present when the baby was found but that cathedral staff immediately notified gardai when they were told.
"Apparently, the baby is okay, in good health and there are no problems," he said last night.
Anyone who saw anything suspicious in the area or who may have any information has been asked to contact the local garda station on 059-9136620.