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Baby born to teen siblings to be adopted

a baby born to a teenage brother and sister may be put up for adoption, a court in Northern Ireland has ruled.

The small boy, who is now a toddler, was born in 2012 as a result of siblings' incest.

The child's mother was 13 when she became pregnant. His father - her older brother - was aged 15 at the time.

The brother disputed that he was the boy's father, but DNA testing proved he was.

None of the family can be identified for legal reasons.

Carers have described the mother as a "very vulnerable young girl" and "a victim of the way in which she was raised".

A Belfast High Court judge cleared the way for the toddler's adoption.

Mr Justice O'Hara ruled that the mother is incapable of giving consent, so the authorities do not require a "freeing order" to arrange the adoption.

The family's circumstances were described in court as "depressing".

Both the mother, referred to as A, and her son J, were taken into care - in different settings - within months of the birth.

freeing

With no suitable family arrangements available, the little boy has since been placed with another couple.

The trust involved in the case sought a freeing order on the basis that it is in J's bests interests to be adopted - a view the judge held to be clearly correct.

Although the child's father took little part in the proceedings, Mr Justice O'Hara made the decision that the mother's agreement should be dispensed with because she was incapable of giving consent.

Now aged 16, the court heard A - who was a schoolgirl when she became pregnant - has had an "exceptionally difficult life".

There had been recurring social services involvement due to a variety of concerns about her, her siblings, as well as her mother and her step-father.

"None of this is A's fault - she is a victim of the way in which she was raised," the judge said. "It is hard to identify any positive life experience which she has enjoyed."

An educational psychologist's report on her mathematical ability found just 3pc of teenagers the same age would have scored the same or lower on a numerical operations test.

hnews@herald.ie


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