Toddler found halfway home after 'escaping' creche
A three-year-old boy who 'escaped' from a childcare centre in west Dublin on Friday morning was found by gardai halfway home after being reported missing.
The boy was found in the Foxdene estate several hundred yards from the Beechtree Childcare Centre, on Balgaddy Road.
The Garda Press Office yesterday said officers at Ronanstown garda station received a call at 11.10am that a boy had gone missing from the childcare centre.
Two gardai in a squad car near the area responded within minutes. While one began a search on foot in a nearby community garden helped by staff and parents, the second garda left in the patrol car and began a search of local streets, having ascertained where the child's family lived.
The boy was found after 20 minutes walking in the general direction of his home by the garda in the patrol car.
The boy is an Irish-born citizen to west African parents. He was said to be unaffected by his experience, which involved him crossing several streets.
The Beechtree Childcare Centre was not open yesterday and no comment was available from staff.
Local Fianna Fail representative Daithi de Roiste said that the centre, which opened only last year, was highly thought of locally – but it was a matter of concern that a child had managed to escape and disappear.
"Of course, it is always a matter of concern when something like this happens but we were very fortunate the gardai were not far away when it was discovered the boy was missing. The two gardai did a terrific job and acted very quickly. They should be congratulated.
"I understand the young lad decided to head home and was halfway there when the garda found him. It was very worrying for the family and staff at the centre but the gardai did a good job in getting him so fast."
Mr de Roiste said it was very fortunate that there happened to be a patrol car near the centre as cutbacks in patrolling and garda numbers often means that there may be only one patrol car available in the whole Ronanstown area and that these are often called to other parts of the "Q" District, which covers Lucan and Ronanstown.
"Gardai are very stretched here at times and I gather there was only one car available in Ronanstown on Friday, so it was lucky they were near the centre when this happened," he said.