Appeal to family of abandoned girl

Gardaí are urging family or friends of the mother who abandoned her newborn baby on a country road in Dublin on Friday to contact them.

A number of items similar to those found with baby ‘Maria’ were put on display yesterday in the hope they may trigger recognition among people close to her.

A light-brown fleece throw from Primark (Penneys) was used to wrap the baby girl along with a small blue cloth. She was then wrapped in a black plastic bin liner and placed within a paper Marks & Spencer shopping bag.

Senior gardaí said “fortunately” the baby was discovered on Steels-town Lane, Rathcoole, at about 3.30pm by a couple. The child was heard “whimpering” in the bag.

Superintendent Brendan Connolly, leading the investigation, said the child was “very cold” and weather conditions at the time had been “very poor”, raining heavily.

The newborn, who was only 24-36 hours old, was brought to Tallaght Hospital and her condition was described as “stable”.

Gardaí yesterday held a joint press conference with Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, at Clondalkin Garda Station.

“A green Marks & Spencer bag, a black plastic refuse sack and a fleece throw [from Primark Home] were found with baby Maria,” said Supt Connolly.

“Somebody out there must recognise these items, particularly the throw. They may be in a position to assist us to find mum and to reunite her, if she so wishes, with her baby.”

Supt Connolly was at pains to reassure the mother she need not worry that the gardaí were conducting a criminal investigation.

“This mother has nothing to fear,” he said. “We are here to help and the matter will be dealt with compassionately and sensitively.”

Rita Byrne, principal social worker with Tusla, said they were working “very closely” with the Child Protection Unit at Clondalkin Garda Station.“We would like mammy to come forward and make contact,” she said. “For the moment we are desperately anxious that she makes contact with us as soon as possible.”

Sergeant Maeve O’Sullivan, who runs the Child Protection Unit, said gardaí were “very concerned” for the mother’s welfare as she may need medical treatment.

“We will deal with her sensitively,” she said. “We want to reunite her with her child. We are asking her to come forward or anyone with information — family or friends — in confidence.”

Supt Connolly said the situation could be worse were it not for the discovery of the baby by people who stopped at the location. “We are absolutely relieved, fortunately the baby was found very quickly by a young couple,” he said.

He said the male got out of the car for a “call of nature” and heard a “child whimpering”.

He saw the baby inside the shopping bag and rang emergency services. Supt Connolly said: “The child was very cold but she was wrapped in the throw in the bag.”

He said the girl was now in “good health” and stable in hospital.

Anyone with information is asked to ring Clondalkin Garda Station on 01 6667600 or the Garda Confidential Line 1800 666 111.

READ MORE: Abandoned baby to be discharged from hospital soon

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