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Child removed, then returned to Roma family in Athlone

It’s the second such case this week, after a 7-year-old girl was taken from a family in Tallaght on Monday.

Updated 22:54

A CHILD HAS been removed, and since returned, to a Roma family in the Athlone.

Gardaí have confirmed that a two-year-old boy was taken from his parents under childcare legislation last night and placed in HSE care.

Enquiries were carried out regarding the toddler’s identity, and he was returned to his family’s care this morning.

A garda spokesperson said that officers were satisfied that the child was back with his real family, and confirmed that no further enquiries were taking place in relation to the case.

Speaking on RTÉ’s News at One, the father of the child in question said that gardaí had called to the family home early yesterday evening.

The father said he was asked questions about the child’s appearance. Concerns had been raised over the toddler’s identity, as he has fair hair and features, in contrast with the rest of the family.

The father said that he had a grandparent who also had fair hair.

The family co-operated fully with gardaí when told the child would be taken into care for the night while his identity was confirmed, and the father was informed this morning he could pick his son up from a local centre.

Tallaght case

The news comes just 48 hours after a seven-year-old girl was taken from a Roma family in Tallaght. DNA tests are currently being carried out to determine the identity of the girl in the Dublin case.

Described as a seven-year-old with blonde hair and blue eyes, the girl was removed from the address by gardaí using the powers granted under the Child Care Act.

Last week, a young girl, named Maria, was discovered in a Roma camp in the central town of Farsala, Greece.

That case has prompted a global reaction with thousands of calls being made to a Greek charity about Maria’s possible origins.

Pavee Point, which represents the Traveller and Roma communities in Ireland, has said that whatever the explanation for the Irish children being taken into care “this reaction needs examining”.

The group says it’s “very hard to know what’s going on in this hysteria”.

This article was originally posted at 11.59am.

Related: DNA tests being carried out on girl found living with Roma family

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