Concerns on identity of two children groundless - Shatter

Minister for Justice to ask Garda Commissioner for report

Concerns about the identity of two children taken into care have been proved groundless, Minister for Justice Alan Shatter has said. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Concerns about the identity of two children taken into care have been proved groundless, Minister for Justice Alan Shatter has said. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Wed, Oct 23, 2013, 19:46

Concerns about the identity of two children taken into care have been proved groundless, Minister for Justice Alan Shatter has said.

He told the Seanad that he had no doubt gardaí acted in this instance in good faith in the intervention that took place “but I do have concerns in relation to each of these matters”.

He said: “I understand that the two children concerned are children of the families concerned, of the parents concerned and that there is no reason for any doubt in that regard.”

Mr Shatter said he was conscious that An Garda Síochána “have a very important role in dealing with children protection issues... and circumstances do arise where for the protection of children it is necessary for the gardaí to intervene and take them to a safe place”.

He said he would be asking the Garda Commissioner for a report on the background to each of these instances with a view to reviewing procedures that applied.

He wanted to do so to ensure gardaí continued with a very important role in the protection of children, while also trying to ensure that the type of situation that has arisen in each of these cases, and impacts on family members, mothers and fathers, can be avoided insofar as is possible.

The Minister said: “I have no doubt that the gardaí acted in this instance in good faith in the intervention that took place.”

The interventions in Tallaght and the midlands took place against the backdrop of events in Greece, but Mr Shatter said it was very important that no group or minority community is singled out for unwarranted attention or suspicion in relation to child protection issues and it is important that events that take place off this island in other states are not automatically assumed to be replicated in this State or other States across Europe, to the detriment of any particular group or minority being singled out.

He stressed: “I’m not suggesting that was in any way the motivation of the members of An Garda Síochána, who acted in a manner they deemed appropriate in the interests of the children.

Mr Shatter was speaking during a debate on direct provision for asylum seekers, provided with accommodation and three meals a day in hostel-style facilities.