Strict restrictions on reporting of child welfare case

Ruling follows arrest of number of people on suspicion of sexual offences against children

Judge Mary Larkin warned of “consequences” if the order was breached. “This is rural Ireland. It’s a very tight space. People are connected by school, parish, work. ‘Jigsaw identification’ is a very real concern,” the judge said. Photograph: Collins

Judge Mary Larkin warned of “consequences” if the order was breached. “This is rural Ireland. It’s a very tight space. People are connected by school, parish, work. ‘Jigsaw identification’ is a very real concern,” the judge said. Photograph: Collins

 

A judge has imposed stringent reporting restrictions in respect of a child welfare case, following the arrest of a number of adults in connection with alleged sexual offences against children.

A number of men and women have been released without charge after being questioned by gardaí and files are being prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions.

At a Children’s Court hearing on Wednesday, a lawyer for Tusla, supported by counsel for An Garda Síochána and a solicitor for guardians of the children involved, sought clarity on a previously imposed court order on reporting restrictions.

Muiris Gavin, solicitor for Tusla, said it had concerns that reporting of specific geographical locations may lead to identifying parties involved. He also highlighted Tulsa concerns that details appearing in comments on online reports could also pose a risk of identifying parties.

Judge Mary Larkin said the court order prohibits reporting of any information which would led to the identification of parties, as well as reporting evidence from proceedings in the childcare case. The order extends to social media platforms.

Judge Larkin permitted the media to report Wednesday’s hearing but warned of “consequences” if the order was breached.

“The press must be aware they can’t publish anything that may interfere with a particular prosecution, or with the identification of children or any related parties,” the judge added.

“This is rural Ireland. It’s a very tight space. People are connected by school, parish, work. ‘Jigsaw identification’ is a very real concern.”