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Gardai fight to issue picture of mystery girl

GARDAI have asked a High Court judge for permission to release a picture of a teenage girl who they have been unable to identify.

The girl, believed to be in her mid-teens, has been in the care of the HSE for several weeks, after being found in a distressed state by the gardai in Dublin.

Yesterday, Genevieve Coonan BL for the Garda Commissioner, told the court that following a number of weeks of investigating the matter, the gardai had "hit a brick wall" and had reached a "deadlock" in their efforts to identify the girl.

Despite their efforts, gardai still don't know where the girl comes from and who her family are. They believe that a criminal offence has been committed against her, counsel said.

As every possible avenue had been exhausted, gardai are seeking an order under the 1991 Child Care Act allowing them to release a picture of the teen to the media, which could help identify her.

The girl's legally appointed guardian supported the Garda application.

Felix McEnroy SC, on behalf of the guardian, said it believed that taking such action so that she can be identified is in the girl's best interests.


Tim O'Leary SC for the HSE, said it was opposed to a picture of the girl being published.

Mr Justice George Birmingham said he was minded to grant the order allowing a picture to be published but adjourned a decision to next Monday.

The judge said he did not wish "to fudge the matter" but wanted to give the girl an "additional few days to stabilise and get comfortable with those working with her," before her image was released.

The judge added he would change his mind about allowing publication if any new information suggesting publication was not in the girls best interests was put before the court.

The court also ordered that nothing be reported that might identify the girl or where she might be staying. She is currently undergoing treatment

On Wednesday last, lawyers acting on the girls behalf launched High Court proceedings aimed at preventing the HSE from placing her at an non secure facility.