Abandoned baby’s DNA to be sampled

‘Theoretically possible’ investigation might identify parents even if they did not come forward

The State has secured permission to take a DNA profile from the baby girl found abandoned on the outskirts of Dublin last week.

The sample would be used to crosscheck against any person claiming to be the child’s parent or with the DNA profiles of others who suspect they may be related to the baby, perhaps through the concealed pregnancy of a relative.

Such samples are also used in the investigation of crimes to link offences to suspects, who can also be eliminated from Garda inquiries by the same means.

Garda sources said it was “theoretically possible” the investigation might identify people suspected of being the mother or father of the baby even if they did not come forward and identify themselves.

However, the same sources insisted the sole focus of the investigation team was to ensure the mother’s physical and mental health needs were met and to reunite her with her child.

Interim care order

Permission to take a DNA sample from the newborn girl was granted to the medical staff caring for her when the Child and Family Agency – Tusla – obtained an interim care order for her at a hearing of the Family Court in Dublin’s south inner city yesterday.

The baby girl is being cared for at the Coombe maternity hospital in Dublin but it was anticipated she would also undergo some treatment at Our Lady's Children's Hospital Crumlin, Dublin.

The interim care order granted to Tusla by Judge Brendan Toale is valid for 28 days, during which time the baby would be thoroughly medically examined, up to and including brain scans.

While the child was found on the side of a road last Friday, when it was raining and temperatures were very low, she was expected to fully recover from that exposure.

Mother still not identified

Garda sources said while a public appeal made at a press conference on Monday at Clondalkin Garda station in west Dublin, where the investigation team is based, generated some calls from the public, the child’s mother has still not been identified.

Senior Garda sources said the mother had nothing to fear from coming forward and that the case was “a health and welfare issue” rather than a criminal matter.

The baby girl was found at about 3.30pm on Friday on Steelstown Road near the Kildare-Dublin border, close to Rathcoole and the busy N7.

The man who found the child had stopped his car on what is effectively a country road behind the Blackchurch Inn, the opposite side of which is visible to motorists on the southbound carriageway on the N7.

It is understood he intended to urinate off the road into the gateway of a field when he found the child wrapped in blanket and bin liner.

He was with his partner at the time and when they found the baby they contacted gardaí, waiting at the scene until members of the force arrived.

Conor Lally

Conor Lally

Conor Lally is Security and Crime Editor of The Irish Times