Ombudsman expected to launch inquiry into Roma cases

Traveller group expresses fears over ‘racial profiling’ and misuse of State power

The Ombudsman for Children  Emily Logan is likely to announce she will conduct her own inquiry with powers to compel officials to answer questions. Photograph: Alan Betson

The Ombudsman for Children Emily Logan is likely to announce she will conduct her own inquiry with powers to compel officials to answer questions. Photograph: Alan Betson

Fri, Oct 25, 2013, 06:57

The Ombudsman for Children is expected to launch an independent investigation into the State’s handling of two cases in which Roma children were removed from their families.

While Government Ministers yesterday resisted calls for an independent inquiry into the case, ombudsman Emily Logan is likely to announce she will conduct her own inquiry with powers to compel officials to answer questions.

Gardaí removed both children from their homes in Dublin and the midlands this week on the basis of reports they did not resemble their parents. DNA tests later proved they were the biological parents. The children were returned to their homes on Wednesday.

In the meantime, An Garda Síochána and the Health Service Executive have both been asked to provide reports on the cases.

Minister for Justice Alan Shatter said he expected those reports within weeks.

He said it was “absolutely appropriate” the finalised HSE and Garda reports would then be submitted to Children’s Ombudsman for review.

But Ms Logan is expected to say shortly she will press ahead with her own review, rather than relying on reports from other State agencies.