Thursday 18 July 2019

Inaccurate hospital records led to doubts

Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

THE family of Child T, the seven-year-old Roma girl taken from her family last October, are disputing the Ombudsman for Children finding that racial profiling was not a feature of their case.

In a statement, issued through their solicitor, Waheed Mudah, the family said: "In this case it is without doubt that racial profiling played a role."

Gardai investigated the family after receiving an email from a television journalist after a viewer posted information on the reporter's Facebook page about a blonde haired, blue- eyed girl living with a Roma family in Tallaght, Dublin.

Child T ended up spending three days in care before authorities became satisfied the girl belonged to the family.

Ombudsman for Children Emily Logan concluded the decision to place her in care was driven primarily by a combination of inaccurate information supplied by a hospital, past experiences of gardai who had investigated cases of children being taken out of the jurisdiction, and a readiness to believe she may have been abducted because of her hair and eye colour.

She found gardai should have evaluated concerns "far more critically".

The issue was complicated by the fact the Coombe maternity hospital was unable to find an entry in its records matching the child's birth certificate.

As a result of this, a garda sergeant did not believe the birth certificate produced by her parents was genuine.

"Having received this inaccurate information, it was reasonable for (the sergeant) to have a doubt regarding the authenticity of the birth certificate," the report said.

However, Ms Logan concluded "more substantial enquiries could have been undertaken" before gardai made any contact with the family.

Mr Mudah said the girl's family was "relieved their position and their care for their family has now been vindicated by the report".

Irish Independent

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