Thursday 24 October 2019

How anonymous Facebook tip-off led to drama

Nicola Anderson

Nicola Anderson

ON Monday morning, TV3 received anonymous information on the Facebook page of the Paul Connolly Investigates programme, expressing concerns about a "blond child" living with a Roma family in Tallaght.

A researcher passed the information on to Mr Connolly by email, which he forwarded it onto the Garda Press Office.

The Child Protection unit based at Tallaght Garda station was in contact almost immediately. Officers from the unit called to the Roma family in Tallaght at around 4.30pm on Monday and spoke with two adults.

The couple insisted the girl was their daughter, showing gardai a passport and claimed she had been born in a Dublin hospital in April 2006.

However, gardai conducted inquiries at Dublin maternity hospitals which failed to produce satisfactory evidence to back up the couple's claim.

Concerned gardai made contact with the HSE and it was decided to take the child immediately into care for the duration of an investigation.

She was brought to hospital, where she was medically examined, then put into the care of the HSE.

In the meantime, TV3 made contact with the anonymous source for the purposes of getting a telephone number from her.

They received that at 10pm on Monday night and forwarded it to the gardai.

Last night DNA samples were taken from the girl and her parents and sent immediately for analysis. Gardai are preparing to interview the parents at length.

The girl then spent a second night in the care of the HSE.

A decision is expected to be taken this afternoon and will hinge on the outcome of DNA samples taken from the adults and the little girl.

Irish Independent

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