Monday 22 July 2019

Garda racial profiling case - Timeline of events

'Maria'
'Maria'
Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

A breakdown of what happened and when.

October 2013

The case of 'Maria', a blonde- haired, blue-eyed girl found in a Roma camp in Greece makes international headlines. A Roma couple are charged with her abduction. It later transpired the little girl is Bulgarian.

October 21, 2013

At 11.10 that morning a journalist from TV3 contacts the Garda Press Office via email with details of a message left on his Facebook page. A viewer reported there was a blonde girl living in Tallaght, Dublin with a Roma family and suggested she may have been abducted. The email was forwarded to gardai in Tallaght.

Later that day a seven-year-old girl with blonde hair and blue eyes is taken into care by gardai. Officers suspect she was abducted by the Roma family after being unable to match hospital records with her birth certificate.

The same day an email is sent to the Missing Persons Bureau at Garda Headquarters with the subject line "Suspected Child Abduction". It relates to a two-year-old boy in Athlone, Co Westmeath, whose appearance was different to that of his parents

October 22, 2013

Gardai investigate the second email and two-year-old Iancu Muntean Jr, a blond-haired, blue-eyed boy, is taken into care from his Roma family home in Willow Park, Athlone.

October 23, 2013

Iancu is returned to his parents Iancu Snr and Loredana after authorities satisfy themselves that he is their son. The same day, the seven-year-old Tallaght girl is returned to her family after hospital records are found confirming her identity.

December 9, 2013

The then Justice Minister Alan Shatter appoints Ombudsman for Children Emily Logan to carry out an inquiry into the two cases.

July 1, 2014

Ms Logan's report is published. It finds racial profiling in the Athlone case and lists a host of garda failings. Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald (right) both apologise to the two families.

A lawyer acting for the Muntean family says they plan to sue over the distress caused.

Irish Independent

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