Foul play ruled out in death of baby girl found on Dublin beach

Gardaí appeal to mother to contact doctor after postmortem finds baby was born full term

Garda Sgt.Fiona Savidge of Balbriggan Garda Station and Eilidh MacNab, area manager North Dublin Tusla have held a press conference where they appealed to the mother of the baby found on Balbriggan beach to come forward and get help. Video: Conor Pope

 

Gardaí have ruled out foul play in the death of a baby whose body was found on a beach in Balbriggan, Co Dublin.

A postmortem established that the baby girl was born full term.

Gardaí investigating the discovery on Saturday morning are continuing to appeal for the mother to come forward, assuring her she will be treated with “the utmost of compassion and care”. They are also eager to speak to anyone who may have witnessed anything on the beach.

There are concerns for the mother’s health and welfare and gardaí along with Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, emphasised the importance of her receiving medical attention.

The discovery was made shortly after 10am by a woman engaged in a voluntary clean-up at an isolated stretch of the strand known locally as Bell’s Beach.

The beach, which is surrounded by cliffs and is accessible only via a single lane pathway, was sealed off for a time to allow a technical examination to be carried out.

Main concern

Speaking at a press conference on Saturday, Sgt Fiona Savidge appealed for the mother to come forward or to make contact with either a doctor or a hospital emergency department. She stressed that the Garda’s main concern was the woman’s wellbeing.

“I am reaching out to you. I know you need medical attention. You need to go to your doctor...I can assure you you will be treated with the utmost of compassion and care and 100 per cent confidentiality,” Sgt Savidge said.

“I know you are a daughter. I know you are possibly a sister, a cousin. You may have a husband, a boyfriend; you may just have confided in a friend. So to anybody out there that the mother of this baby got in touch with, I’m appealing to you to make contact with us here.”

The woman who made the discovery was said to be in a state of shock and was helping gardaí with their inquiries.

Newborn baby

Gardaí said it seemed likely that the newborn baby had been placed on the beach and not washed up although they said it was too early to say if an attempt had been made to bury the body or if it had been partially covered by sand as a result of the high winds at the time of the discovery.

There is no indication of how long the body had been on the beach before the discovery was made.

The infant’s body was removed from the beach shortly after 2pm and was transferred to Temple St Children’s Hospital.

Eilidh MacNab of Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, with Garda Sergeant Fiona Savidge (right) speaking at a press briefing at Balbriggan Garda station. Photograph Nick Bradshaw
Eilidh MacNab of Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, with Garda Sergeant Fiona Savidge (right) speaking at a press briefing at Balbriggan Garda station. Photograph Nick Bradshaw

“This is a lady who is in tragic circumstances and she needs to be looked after,” said Supt Liam Gerraghty of the mother.

Gardaí said on Monday they have named the baby Belle ­ because she was found on Bell’s beach and because the word means beautiful in French.

Garda Inspector Brian Downey appealed to the mother on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland programme to come forward and receive medical treatment. “This is not a criminal investigation. She is not in trouble. Our only concern is for the health, safety, welfare of the mother,” he said.

“We don’t need to speak to her, we just need to know that she is okay, that’s she’s safe and getting the medical attention that she requires.”

Dr Rhona Mahony, Master of the National Maternity Hospital, also told the programme she was concerned for the mother, who may be experiencing complications.

Distressed

“We are concerned for her as a person. We understand she is going through a terribly difficult time. I imagine she is very confused, distressed and frightened, she may feel overwhelmed.”

Dr Mahony said she was concerned the mother could be suffering from excessive bleeding and feeling unwell. “She’s got a lot to cope with.

“Our primary concern is caring for her. There’s no question of anyone ‘giving out’ to her. We are concerned for her physical health, her mental health.

“It is heartbreaking, we know that women face difficult circumstances some times. Difficult things happen in life, we understand that. Our first thought is her welfare.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact Balbriggan Garda station on (01) 6664500 or any Garda station, or alternatively the Tusla 24 hour service at 0818 776315.