Garda removed girl from home after ‘tip off’ to TV3
Message said a named child was living with a family she did not resemble
Paul Connolly of TV3. The reporter was contacted on Monday by a member of the public who had concerns.
A Garda inquiry and HSE investigation that led to young girl being removed from a family was prompted when a member of the public left a message with a TV3 news programme.
The child was removed from a house in west Dublin on Monday evening and has spent the last two nights in HSE care.
She was taken from the home after gardai attached to a child protection unit were not satisfied with a birth certificate and passport for the child furnished to them by the family.
It is anticipated that the parents will be required to prove their claim by way of DNA testing.
The couple had insisted the child is theirs. The concerns that prompted the case were based on the fact the child had blond hair and blue eyes and did not resemble the family she was removed from.
The message that prompted the case was with the Paul Connolly Investigates programme on TV3 on Monday.
It read: “Hi Paul. Today was on the news that blond child found in (named ethnic group) camp in Greece. There is also a little girl living in a… house in (named suburb) and she is blond and blue eyes.”
The message then included the name and address of the child.
A person on behalf of Paul Connolly Investigates replied by seeking the person’s phone number and supplied the programme’s email address, requesting additional information.
“If there is a young girl I trouble then this is extremely serious and will need to be dealt with as such,” the programme staff member replied.
The presenter of the programme, Paul Connolly appeared on The 5.30pm news show yesterday evening on TV3 to outline what he said was his central role in the ongoing events.
Connolly said that on Monday morning he received an email from a researcher and producer at TV3 informing him that a message had been left for the programme which had automatically been sent on to her email.
“She had the wherewithal, thank God, to send it on to me,” he said of his colleague.
“And it was very, very specific which made me worry. It had the name of the child, a very clear description of the child, the address of the child.”
He said he then followed TV3 protocol and forwarded the message to the Garda. “From there it really kicked off,” he added.
“The child protection services in the branch of the (local) Garda station were on to me almost immediately.”
“So we had to get that off her. I managed to get that at around 10pm (on Monday). I contacted the gardai, they told me they would be in touch and here we are.”
As he was appearing on the show the HSE was before the courts in relation to the case.
It is understood the girl’s parents could begin a civil action if the child is returned to them and it is found the initial message that led to the child being taken into care was groundless.