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Wednesday 18 September 2019

'It is a time for care and compassion' - community ready to support mother of baby discovered on Balbriggan beach

  • Shock at grim discovery near Balbriggan

  • Gardaí fear deeply distressed mother is in urgent need of medical care

  • Post-mortem examination of a newly born baby has determined that no foul play was involved in its death

Bell’s Beach, near Balbriggan, where the baby’s tiny body was found.
Photo: Frank McGrath
Bell’s Beach, near Balbriggan, where the baby’s tiny body was found. Photo: Frank McGrath

Wayne O'Connor, Niamh Horan, Tom Brady and Patrick O'Connell

The wider community of Balbriggan are ready to support the mother of a newly born baby discovered on a North County Dublin beach.

Gardai issued an appeal yesterday to the mother of a new-born baby, found partially buried on Bell's Beach in Balbriggan, to come forward for medical help.

A post mortem examination of the baby, carried out this morning, has determined that no foul play was involved in its death.

The examination also established that the child was a full term baby girl. 

Tidal conditions have made it difficult for gardai to determine if a baby discovered on a beach in North County Dublin was buried intentionally.

Gardaí do not believe that the baby had washed up on the beach. 

The baby was discovered at approximately 10am yesterday by a female volunteer picking up litter on Bell's Beach. After making the discovery, she contacted Balbriggan Garda Station. Gardai sealed off the scene for a forensic investigation.

The baby's remains were then removed from the scene and taken to Temple Street Children's Hospital ahead of a post mortem examination.

Gardaí are not yet following a definite line of enquiry but are exploring the option that the baby may have been born at the beach or nearby before it was partially buried.

They have not ruled out the possibility that it may also have been brought there by a man who was known to the woman.

"All lines of investigation remain open," a Garda spokesman said last night.

Sergeant Fiona Savidge of Balbriggan Garda Station last night said the safety of the mother of the dead baby is the primary focus for gardai in the early stages of the investigation. She issued an appeal for the mother to come forward.

"I want to get in touch with the mother of this baby, I am reaching out to you. I know you need medical attention," said Sgt Savidge.

"I can assure you that you will be treated with the utmost of compassion, care and 100pc confidentiality. You need to go to your doctor, possibly a 24-hour doctor on call. If you could also go to an accident and emergency, 24-hour care is available there."

She has also made an appeal for anyone with knowledge of what has happened to come forward.

"I know you are a daughter, you are possibly a sister, a cousin. You may have a husband or a boyfriend. You may just have confided in a friend, so to anybody out there who the mother of this baby has got in touch with, I am appealing to you to make contact with us."

The local woman who discovered the baby was receiving support from gardai last night. "We have been talking to that person and we will continue to engage with that person," said a spokesman. "Obviously it was a traumatic experience."

In Balbriggan last night there was a palpable air of shock at the grim discovery at the coastal beauty spot north of the town.

Former Health Minister and local GP Dr James Reilly told the Sunday Independent: "I am very concerned as a local doctor. She has to be in a very distressed state. Any time for this to happen is tragic but in this kind of weather and coming up to Christmas too makes it all the more distressing."

Dr Reilly added: "There is only one thing for sure here and that is that there is a mother out there who is very distressed and who needs help. I have no doubt she is traumatised. It is a time for care and compassion. I would appeal to her to even talk to a friend." The former Health Minister said that the discovery has shocked the area.

"We don't know the circumstances or what age she is but as a doctor I would have seen young girls and mature women coming in to see me and not knowing what to do.

"I would also ask anyone who might know someone who might be in that situation to check and make sure they are OK," Dr Reilly said.

Local councillor Tom O'Leary expressed his shock: "Without knowing any of the circumstances, I would appeal to the mother to come forward to seek the help and medical attention she needs. Maybe she is under a lot of pressure, we don't know the circumstances and the matter is very delicate.

"Maybe her family and friends are aware of her situation and they could assist her in coming forward. She needs to talk to somebody. We don't know the circumstances but to think of anyone that might have had to go through that alone and also in those terrible weather conditions, alone on a beach, I can't bear to think of it."

Sunday Independent

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