HSE to probe girl's 'appalling' living conditions, court told

The Health Service Executive is to inspect a run-down house where of a 15-year-old girl is said to be living in “appalling” conditions with nearly 40 others and no electricity or running water.

The Dublin Children’s Court has heard that the girl travels by jumping onto wagons of passing freight trains, putting her life at risk.

The girl, who is originally from Romania, is charged with failing to comply with a Garda direction under the Public Order Act, to leave the vicinity of the N7, the Naas road, in Dublin, on a date last month.

She has also been endangering herself there by begging for money in the middle of three busy lanes of traffic.

Earlier, this week Garda Mervin Henson, of Blanchardstown station, who arrested the girl, told Judge Patrick McMahon there were concerns over her and her family’s living conditions.

“They are living in an abandoned house at the side of the train tracks. There’s no running water electricity. They jump on wagons of freight trains to get into town; someone is going to be killed by doing this.”

Judge McMahon said these were “appalling conditions” and was also told by a probation officer in court that it was a “child welfare matter”.

The girl had been given bail on condition that she did not go to the N7 where she had been arrested.

However this condition has been repeatedly broken nearly costing the girl her life.

“We got 10 or 11 calls that that she was begging in the middle of three lanes, cars skidded to avoid her,” the garda said.

On Wednesday last, Judge McMahon asked for the HSE to attend the case to outline what assistance it can give in relation to the care of the child.

A solicitor for the HSE said today it had learned that the house had power and a water supply.

However, Garda Paul McGovern said officers from Swords station had visited the abandoned property which he described as “a single storey stone house”, and “there were 30 to 40 people at it; it seemed there was no water or electricity”.

Judge McMahon also said he had further concerns over the girl’s welfare such as her method of transport and her begging on busy roads, where he added “she might be killed”.

Defence solicitor Caroline Egan said she was instructed by the girl’s mother that they intended to return to Romania when they could afford the trip. However, she added that in the mean time “she is really at risk”.

The HSE stated that on Monday next it would send people to examine the house.

The judge remanded the girl who was accompanied to court today by her mother, to appear again next week pending the inspection of the derelict property in north Co Dublin.

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