Mother of baby Maria 'has nothing to fear' from gardaí
The mother of a baby abandoned on a country road outside Dublin will not be judged, forced to take her back or pressurised if she comes forward, social workers have said.
Gardaí are still not any closer to identifying the infant's parents - four days after she was found wrapped in a blanket and Marks and Spencer bag.
They are "desperately anxious" to make contact with the mother who may need medical attention.
At a press conference yesterday, Superintendent Brendan Connolly said she has nothing to fear by coming forward.
"We are very concerned for the welfare of the baby's mother," he said.
"This mom has nothing to fear, we are here to help her and the matter will be dealt with compassionately and sensitively and with the utmost discretion."
The baby girl, who is being called 'Maria' by care officials, was between 24 and 36 hours old when she was found on Steelestown Lane, near Rathcoole, at 3.30pm last Friday.
A young couple discovered the infant when they pulled into a side road off the Dublin to Naas Road at the back of the Blackchurch Inn.
It is understood the driver raised the alarm when he heard the baby crying inside a gate.
There was torrential rain at the time and the child was extremely cold but had not suffered any injuries. The couple wrapped the girl, who is Caucasian, in a jacket while waiting for an ambulance.
Speaking at a press conference in Clondalkin, Supt Connolly said he did not believe the infant had been there for very long.
She was wrapped in a brown, fleece blanket and a small blue cloth inside a black plastic bin liner which had been placed inside a Marks and Spencer paper shopping bag. Replicas of the items found with the child were put on show, including the light-brown coloured fleece, which has a 'Primark Home' label attached.
Supt Connolly said gardaí were working closely with the HSE and the child protection agency, Tusla.
The senior officer was joined in the appeal by Sergeant Maeve O'Sullivan of the Child Protection Unit in Clondalkin, and Rita Byrne, principal social worker with Tusla, who also expressed concerns for the mother's welfare.
"Somebody out there must recognise these items, and we are appealing to anyone who can assist us to contact us here in Clondalkin Garda Station," Supt Connolly said.
"They are common, everyday items found in every home, we are just hoping that somebody seeing the items - particularly the throw - may recognise them and may be in a position to assist us to find mum and to reunite her, if she so wishes, with her baby."
Ms Byrne said: "From our perspective, we would appeal for the girl's mother to come forward because she needs help and also to have a say in the future of her child.
"The mother will not be forced into taking her back, and she will not be judged or pressurised, but she can have a say in the child's future with regard to fostering or adoption."