Justice Minister calls for report on two Roma children

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The Minister for Justice has admitted there will be instances where children are taken into care on the basis of allegations that prove unfounded.
Alan Shatter has asked the garda commissioner for a report on two children who were removed from their families because of concerns about their identities.
A 7-year-old girl and a 2-year-old boy were both the subject of care orders and underwent DNA testing after concerns were raised that they did not look like their parents or siblings.
Both were found to be living with their biological parents and were reunited with their families.
Minister Shatter says gardai and the HSE have a responsibility to ensure the safety of children and authorities acted in good faith.
“I think it’s inevitable when the best interests of children are involved that there will be instances where serious allegations are made that ultimately prove unfounded” he said.
“But there’s a responsibility to ensure that children are protected, that’s why these matters go into our courts system”.
“And in each of these instances where difficulties arose, they were rapidly addressed, and the children were appropriately returned” he added.
The European Union Commissioner for Human Rights has criticised the worldwide media reporting of both of the cases.
Speaking in Strasbourg Nils Muilnieks says referencing the ethnicity of the families involved has only served to fuel negativity towards the Roma Community.
Siobhan Curran is Community Development Worker with the Roma Project at Pavee Point.
They have called for an independent review of the cases. She has welcomed the involvement of the ombudsman.
“It is crucial that the State authorities are not investigating themselves, so that the involvement of the ombudsman is due in this and that it is done in a timely manner” she said.
“But we would be also very clear that there’s a number of issues that we would like the review to consider: what was the evidence that the authorities were working upon when they made the decisions, and why were the children removed at such haste” she added.

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