A 13-year-old Romanian girl living in Dublin with a man who claims to be her uncle and guardian but has no official documentation to back-up his claims, has disappeared a court heard today.
Earlier a judge at the Children’s Court had said that gardaí may have to seek an “emergency care order” for her welfare. The girl, who has been in Ireland without her parents for about two months, is facing three charges for attempted thefts in Dublin city centre.
In May she had been remanded on conditional bail.
Garda Alison O’Neill of Store Street station told Judge Patrick McMahon today that the man was to produce proof of his identity and his relationship to the girl but neither had turned up for the case. Judge McMahon issued a bench warrant for the girl’s arrest.
Solicitor Ms Gina Cleary, representing the Health Service Executive said today that it was believed the girl and the man had left their north inner city Dublin address.
HSE staff along with an interpreter visited the address on three occasions but was no-one was home. A neighbour informed them that the pair moved out.
The HSE visits were to establish if there were child welfare concerns.
On the girl’s previous court appearance the judge had been told that: the girl had been living with a man who claimed to be her uncle and guardian; her parents were still in Romania; she came here on a “holiday” for an “indefinite” period and had no passport.
Garda Alan Bradley had said concerns had been raised over the identity of the man, who is aged about 30 years, and claims to be her uncle and guardian.
He said this man did not have a passport and only had photocopied identity cards.
Romanian authorities were contacted and stated that if a non-parent were to bring a child out of the country they had to be in possession of a “certificate of power of attorney”.
This document was to be produced on leaving Romanian jurisdiction and had to be retained by the person accompanying the child when they arrived at their destination.
However, Garda Bradley had added that the man, who was present in court on the last date, did not have such documentation.
In response to defence counsel submissions that the man had been able to produce identity details, Judge McMahon had said these were photocopies and “that means nothing”.
He had said that the gardaí may have to make an application under Section 12 of the Childcare Act, for an emergency care order.
This allows gardaí to intervene when there are grounds for believing there is an immediate and serious risk to the health or welfare of a child.