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Dublin: 2°C Sunday 5 December 2021

Child found in car with cut on his throat as parents prepared to smoke heroin

The boy said his father had cut his throat.

Image: Shutterstock/Amy Johansson

A DISTRICT COURT made an interim care order for a young boy who was found in the middle of the night in a car as his parents prepared to smoke heroin.

The garda who had come across the vehicle told the court that just after midnight he had seen lights on in a parked car.

Accompanied by three colleagues, he approached car where he saw a child and one adult in the backseat and two adults in the front of the car. He said that the young child was awake and it was about two degrees outside. The woman told the garda that they had nowhere else to go and were sleeping there for the night.

“There were clear signs of drug use in the vehicle,” the garda said.

There was burnt tin foil from smoking heroin and ripped plastic bags of tobacco. The accused admitted to smoking heroin earlier in the day and said they were going to smoke it again when we stopped them.

“The woman was in the passenger side, her partner was in the driver seat of the vehicle, there was a third male in the back seat of the vehicle beside the child. They [the parents] didn’t know who he was, he had a bag full of needles and I believe he was there to supply them with heroin.”

The parents had been planning to sleep in the car, so the garda took him to hospital.

On arrival at the hospital, I noted that the child was dirty, his face, hands and clothes were dirty and there was a large cut across his throat. He told the nurse he was hungry and thirsty and was given a yogurt and a drink, he then asked for more food and was given toast.

The garda said that the child had been wearing runners that were too small for him, the nurse had trouble putting them back on his feet and his toenails were bruised.

The Out of Hours Service was called and the child went into emergency foster care for the night.

Although the child’s parents had given false names to the garda on the night they had given the correct name for the child and their names were subsequently found on the child’s hospital records.

The garda told the court that at the time he knew the mother was lying but was more concerned about the child’s well-being than arresting the parents.

During the care order proceedings, which took place before another judge, the garda told the court that he had followed up the mark on the child’s neck.

When the child had been scratching his neck the foster mother had asked him what had happened and she said the child had told her: “My daddy did it with a knife.”

The garda had then called out to the house with a specialist child interviewer who had, in the garda’s presence, asked the child what had happened and the child made the same disclosure.

The judge granted an interim care order and a guardian was appointed for the child.


The case forms part of 30 new cases of child care breaches published today by the Child Care Law Reporting Project (CCLRP).

The project has today published 30 new case reports in the first volume of its 2015 reports on child care proceedings. The reports range from criminal cases to naturalisation cases.

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