UPDATE: Police have returned the two children they removed from Roma families in the past two days after DNA tests came back positive. The children, a two-year-old boy from Athlone, County Westmeath, and a seven-year-old girl from Tallaght, County Dublin, were placed in state care following reports that they did not look like their Roma parents.
The police sought to see documentation from the parents and carried out DNA tests after the children were separated from their family. Human rights groups are calling their actions abduction and citing racial profiling as being behind their actions.
A blue-eyed, fair-haired girl has been taken from a Roma family in Tallaght, Dublin. The Health Service Executive (HSE) was tipped off by a TV station which got a Facebook tip following the massive international coverage of the case of four-year-old “Maria” abducted in Greece.
The seven-year-old child was removed from the Dublin family and the parents were taken in by police to undergo DNA testing. A TV3 investigative journalist is said to have first tipped off police after a Facebook allegation.
This unusual case comes just one week after the case of “Maria” in Greece went viral around the globe. This blond young girl was found in a Roma camp, in Greece, during a police raid. DNA tests proved that she is not related to the couple, Christos Salis and Eleftheria Dimopoulou, who have now been formally charged with abduction.
In the ongoing Dublin case, the family’s solicitor said “I am 100% sure that this child belongs to these parents and I’ve maintained that position throughout.”
The Independent newspaper also wrote that they had seemingy uncovered a legitimate birth cert for the child.
One of the parent's daughters also said that blond hair and blue eyes does run in the family. She said “My uncle has blond hair and blue eyes.
“We are very angry about this because they come and they don't give us any reason why they are here.”
The Tallaght couple claims their fair-haired daughter was born in the Coombe Hospital, in Dublin, in 2006. The police have not been able to find hospital records to confirm their claims.
Police spent hours at the family’s Dublin property looking for documents to confirm that the child is theirs. The birth certificate produced was deemed to be inconclusive and the passport, with a picture of a baby, could not be matched to the child. The police also claim the family gave a name and date of birth that were different to records at the registry office, according to the Irish Mirror.
The girl can be kept in care by the HSE for up to eight days before a permanent care order must be sought. No arrests have been made and police are awaiting the DNA results.
Mick McCaffrey, Crime Correspondent with the Sunday World, told UTV "The case of Maria in Greece went around the world – people are being very diligent now."
The police have also consulted with experts on the possibility of Roma people, who are typically dark, having blond children.
McCafferty said “They were told it would be very unusual.”
Pavee Point, a rights group that works on behalf of Irish Travellers and the Roma community, said they “are concerned about witch-hunts against a vulnerable community and old stereotypes of an entire community being propagated in the media coverage of this development.”
In the case of “Maria” in Greece, the parents who were looking after her are believed to have used false IDs to register "Maria" as their own. They claim the "Maria" was born at home and is four years old.
The Greek Supreme Court prosecutor has now ordered an urgent investigation into birth certificates issued across the country over the past six years.
Here’s a news report on “Maria’s” case: