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Laura Hutton/
Family court

Child taken into care after her mother was found passed out on New Year's Eve

Gardaí were called to the hotel where the girl and her mother were staying.

THE FAMILY COURT has granted an emergency care order for a schoolgirl whose mother was found passed out on New Year’s Eve.

The Dublin court heard that gardaí received a call from the hotel in which the girl and her mother were staying on the afternoon of 31 December 2016.

An officer attended the scene, where she found the mother, who resides at the hotel, passed out on the bed. The door to the room was ajar and the television was turned on.

The garda told the court yesterday that she was able to wake the mother after several minutes, but that the woman remained confused about the location of her daughter.

Enquiries were made and the girl was found in the room of another hotel resident.

The garda told the court she was concerned about the welfare of the child and invoked Section 12 of the Child Protection Act 1991, which gives gardaí the power to place a child into the care of the HSE.

The court heard that the girl has been living with her maternal grandmother on a day-to-day basis. The grandmother is willing to continue to look after her.

The girl, who is due to return to school on Monday, was staying with her mother on 31 December, although the reason for this remains unclear.

A child protection professional told the court that she spoke with the mother over the phone on Sunday 1 January. She said the mother was incoherent and denied the events that took place in relation to her daughter the previous day.

The official said the girl’s grandmother is sincere about her desire to care for the girl, but is concerned that she will not be able to protect her from the girl’s parents.

The court heard the grandmother is concerned the girl’s father might try to “snatch” her away.

The court also heard the grandmother had her own children placed in care when they were young, and previously struggled with substance issues.

Judge Marie Quirke granted an emergency order putting the child in State care, so that an assessment of the grandmother’s ability to adequately care for her granddaughter can be carried out.

Judge Quirke said she was “deeply concerned” about the young girl involved and urged the assessment of the grandmother to take place as quickly as possible.

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