Court to probe legality of keeping Roma baby in care

A High Court inquiry will be held tomorrow into the legality of orders keeping a one-year-old Roma girl in HSE care when its mother wants to bring the infant back to Romania.

The child, who cannot be identified by court order, was placed in care by the mother last July but the mother now wants to go home with her daughter.

After the district court refused to discharge an interim care order when the HSE said there was insufficient evidence as to what faced the child on her return to Romania, the High Court application was brought on behalf of the child, suing through her mother. On Friday last, Mr Justice George Birmingham ordered an inquiry under article 40 of the Constitution into the legality of the child’s detention on foot of the care orders and returned the matter to Monday.

Yesterday, he agreed to adjourn the inquiry to tomorrow after being told by Peter Finlay SC, for the HSE, he wanted to file affidavits.

Feichín McDonagh SC, for the child, had told the judge on Friday the mother, aged in her 20s, had placed the mother in care last July when she was trying to deal with various matters, including warrants, which she had since resolved.

The judge heard an interim care order related to the child is due to expire on Nov 11, but the HSE had indicated it would seek an extension of that order.

In refusing to discharge the interim care order, the district court had said there was insufficient evidence as to whether the child’s interests would be adequately protected in Romania.

Mr McDonagh has argued it is impermissible, under the Child Care Act 1991, to place an onus on the mother to prove various matters in Romania.


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