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Newborn taken from its mum 'to stay in care'

A newborn baby taken by force from its mother by gardai is to remain in Health Service Executive (HSE) care, the High Court has ruled.

Mr Justice Sean Ryan, in a ruling yesterday dismissed arguments by lawyers for the baby, who sued through his mother, that the child was unlawfully and unconstitutionally taken into care by the authorities.


Mr Justice Ryan said it was "difficult to overstate the distressing nature of this case". However, from the evidence he was satisfied the emergency order, placing the child in the care of the HSE was valid and lawful.

The mother, who was not present in court for the ruling, is considering appealing the ruling to the Supreme Court.

Under the terms of the care order she has been given access to the baby for two hours a day for five days a week. None of the parties involved can be identified by order of the court.

The baby, born last Wednesday, was being breast fed by its 38-year-old mother when gardai arrived at a house of a family friend last Thursday.

Around the same time the HSE obtained an emergency district court order temporarily allowing it to place the child in care.

The HSE sought the orders due to concerns it has mainly about the child's father.

Lawyers for the 38-year-old mother argued the care order obtained by the HSE was unlawful and irregular. This was because the mother was prevented by gardai from attending the district court when the care order was being sought.

Barrister Michael O'Higgins SC for the child had argued gardai were asked by the HSE to put the mother and child effectively under house arrest. This was to keep them in the jurisdiction of the district court while it was considering making an emergency care order.

As a result of this, a High Court inquiry, under Article 40 of the Constitution, into the legality of the care order was launched and heard by the High Court last Saturday.

The HSE opposed the mother's application and argued the order was perfectly valid.

The court heard that the baby's father was a controlling type of person who had bullied his wife and assaulted her teenage daughter by another relationship.


In his ruling the Judge said he accepted the mother was denied fair procedures due to the fact neither she nor her lawyers had an opportunity to make her case to the district court before the care order was made.

However, the purpose of an emergency care order was to ensure the health, safety and well being of the infant, the Judge said.

In this case he was satisfied the care order obtained by the HSE was valid.