Inquiry into removal of infant from mother by gardaí concludes

Tusla sought care order in respect of eight-moth-old boy amid concern for his welfare

A High Court inquiry into the removal by gardaí of a baby boy from his mother’s care last last month has concluded. File photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times.

A High Court inquiry into the removal by gardaí of a baby boy from his mother’s care last last month has concluded. File photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times.

 

A High Court inquiry into the removal by gardaí of a baby boy from his mother’s care last last month has concluded.

The eight-month-old was removed after Tusla secured an interim district court order placing the child under its care.

Tusla, the child and family agency, sought the order after a social worker raised concerns about the boy’s welfare including a failure to bring him for medical appointments. Care orders were previously obtained for the boy’s three older siblings, the court heard.

Lawyers for the mother challenged the decision and sought an inquiry under Article 40 of the Constitution.

Mr Justice Senan Allen was informed in the High Court on Wednesday by Teresa Blake SC for the mother that following discussions between the parties the initial order allowing Tusla to put the child in care had been vacated.

A fresh application allowing Tusla to put the child in care stands adjourned before the district court. The boy remains in the care of Tusla but on a voluntary basis, Sarah McKechnie BL for the agency told the court.

Counsel added that the agreement in relation to the proceedings was entered into following a suggestion by Mr Justice Mark Sanfey, when the case came before him late last month, to take a practical approach to the matter.

Ms McKechnie said that while the matter was resolved following an agreement between the parties, Tusla was standing over its decision to seek orders placing the child in its care.

Ms Blake said the inquiry was sought on the grounds that the interim care order was sought without any notice to the mother.

The mother’s lawyers argued it was highly unusual for an interim order to be sought on an ex-parte basis where there was no notice and no opportunity for the mother’s lawyers to examine the legal basis for it. It was also argued that there did not appear to be any serious risk to the child to warrant the application and these steps amounted to a breach of fair procedures, counsel added.

Mr Justice Allen said he deemed the inquiry concluded and adjourned the issue of who should pay the legal costs of the action to a date in June.