A THREE-year-old boy walked home from a west Dublin childcare centre after letting himself out without staff noticing.
The boy, named locally as Daniel Nkowe, wandered from the Beechtree Childcare Centre in the Meile an Ri area of Ronanstown on Friday.
When staff noticed he was missing they immediately alerted gardai who began a search.
But the boy made it across a large green to his home several hundred yards away in the Foxdene estate. Along the way he had to cross roads on his own before ringing the bell on his own front door.
Gardai confirmed that Ronanstown Garda Station received a call at 11.10am on Friday that a boy had gone missing from the childcare centre.
Two gardai in a squad car responded within minutes.
While one began a search on foot in a nearby community garden, helped by staff and parents, the second garda in the patrol car began a search of local streets having found out where the child's family lived.
Locals then notified the creche that he had walked home and the search was called off.
The boy is an Irish-born citizen to west African parents, and was said to be unaffected by his experience.
Speaking to the Herald, his father said he was happy with Beechtree creche and that he was sure the incident arose out of "a small mistake". "Our son is very happy there and they treat him well," he said.
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.
"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," he said.
The case follows an incident when a three-year-old boy went missing from a Dublin city centre creche in July 2010.
Thomas Doherty was found wandering Dublin's city streets oblivious to the search for him. when he walked out of the Merrion Montessori and Nursery at Herbert Street, Dublin 2.