Attempts to find baby’s mother not a criminal investigation

Gardaí and health authorities say woman should not be afraid to come forward

Gardaí investigating at the scene where a baby was found abandoned on Steelstown Road in Rathcoole, Co Dublin. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Gardaí investigating at the scene where a baby was found abandoned on Steelstown Road in Rathcoole, Co Dublin. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

 

Gardaí and the health authorities have insisted their efforts to find the mother of a newborn baby girl abandoned last week were not a criminal investigation.

Supt Brendan Connolly, from Clondalkin Garda station, said his concern and that of his team was “first and last for the welfare of the mother”.

“The mother should have absolutely no fear of coming to talk to us,” he said.

“We are available to talk any time. This is not a criminal investigation; it is simply not our focus. Our focus is on the mother and the child.

“And we will be keeping that focus in exactly the same place. Mum has nothing to fear by coming forward.

“We just want to make sure that mum is OK, that she receives psychological or medical help she requires and that we help her move forward and her baby to move forward.”

Speaking at the same press event in Clondalkin station this afternoon principal social worker at the child and family agency Tusla, Rita Byrne, said she simply wanted “mammy to come forward”.

Addressing the child’s mother directly, she added: “Please make the call (to gardaí); it’s really important that we make contact with you and that we start to have a conversation about what supports you might need.”

Sgt Maeve O’Sullivan of the child protection unit in Clondalkin said if contact was established, she would work with the mother in assessing her needs and planning the future for her and her newborn baby girl.

“To date the mum has not come forward, and I want to ask the mum to contact Clondalkin Garda station and we can assist in guiding her.

“We remain anxious for the mum’s welfare and we’d also ask her to seek medical attention.”

Sgt O’Sullivan said while her focus was on finding the mother, she also appealed to others, especially family members, of anyone they believed may be the mother of the child to come forward.

“We are appealing to anybody; family, friends, sisters or brothers who may have information to please come forward. There’s no need to be afraid, I am here to help.”

She said the child, who has been cared for in the Coombe hospital in Dublin’s south inner city since she was found last week, was doing well.

Gardaí staged a high visibility checkpoint in the area where the child was found near Rathcoole on the Dublin-Kildare border this day last week.

They were hopeful of speaking to motorists who might pass that area at the same time every Friday and have been asking them to recall if they saw anything unusual at the time.

“People may have information and not even realise the significance of that information,” Supt Connolly said of the motorists who were in the area last Friday.

Gardaí said a number of public appeals for information in the last week have generated calls from the public, including from those who have supplied names of women and girls they believe may be the child’s mother.

However, all of those leads have been checked and have come to nothing to date.

The couple who found the baby have been spoken to again and gardaí said they had been “very, very helpful”.

Forensic tests on a blanket and bag the child was wrapped in were still underway.

The items were wet and have had to be dried at a set temperature to maintain the forensic value of anything that could b e yielded from them.

And CCTV footage of vehicles driving to and from the area where the child was found is also being trawled by a team of gardaí.

The baby girl was found at about 3.30pm last 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.