Garda told hold internal review of Roma operations

Alan Shatter asks Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan prepare a report on cases in Tallaght and the midlands

The report will be compiled by a senior officer appointed by Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien / The Irish Times

The report will be compiled by a senior officer appointed by Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien / The Irish Times

Thu, Oct 24, 2013, 01:00


An internal Garda review is to be conducted into the circumstances in which two children were taken from their respective Roma families in west Dublin and the midlands on suspicion that their parents were not their blood relatives.

The Garda Ombudsman had not received any complaints about the case last night. A spokesman said it would launch an investigation if complaints about the Garda’s conduct were lodged with it.


Public interest

The agency could also launch an inquiry in the public interest, without receiving a complaint. No decision had been taken on that last night.

After the two children, one from west Dublin and the other from the Midlands, were returned to their families yesterday, Minister for Justice Alan Shatter said the matter would be examined.

In both cases, gardaí from child protection units removed the children from the homes under the provisions of section 12 of the Child Care Act 1991. It empowers gardaí to remove a child from a family home to safety if “there is an immediate and serious risk to the health and welfare of a child”. A child can also be removed if the gardaí believe “it would not be sufficient for the protection of the child from such immediate and serious risk to await the making of an application for an emergency care order by a health board”.

Garda sources said in some cases where children have been removed from families in the past, this was done because the gardaí in question feared the children might be taken from the jurisdiction to frustrate an investigation into their welfare and family background.

Last night Mr Shatter requested that Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan prepare a report for him outlining the circumstances of both cases. The report will be compiled by a senior officer appointed by Mr Callinan. The process is not an internal disciplinary matter but is instead designed to gather up as much data as possible into how the girl and boy – in separate and unrelated cases – were removed from their families.

The examination of the cases by the Garda will involve interviewing the gardaí who were part of the decision-making process that resulted in the removal of the children from their homes.