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Dublin: 11 °C Wednesday 22 May, 2019

Groups warn about 'witch hunt' against Roma

Groups have warned against the propagation of stereotypes of an entire community after the removal of two children from Roma families.

Image: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland

A GROUP HAS warned about a ‘witch hunt’ against Roma in Ireland after two children were taken from Roma families over concerns about their identities.

Pavee Point Traveller and Roma Centre said that there is a “real danger” that State action based solely on the basis of appearance could create the conditions for an increase in racism and discrimination against the Roma community living here.

A spokesperson for the group warned against persecution “against a vulnerable community and old stereotypes of an entire community being propagated in the media coverage”.

“Actions by the State need to be evidence-based and due process needs to be accorded to all communities living in Ireland,” the statement said.

DNA tests are being carried out on a 7-year-old girl who was placed in HSE care on Monday after being removed from her family home in Tallaght over concerns that she was not related to the couple who say they are her biological parents.

In a separate case today, a 2-year-old boy was reunited with his family after being removed by gardaí over concerns over his identity.

In relation to the case in  Tallaght, Pavee Point said that the case “should be dealt with according to standard HSE/Garda procedures and the best interests of the child need to be prioritised”.

Racial profiling

Separately, the Immigrant Council of Ireland said the cases have raised questions about whether minorities are being subjected to ‘excessive attention’ from Gardaí and public services.

The head of the Immigrant Council Denise Charlton said the Government needs to make clear what procedures are in place in public services to stop racial profiling from happening.

“The placing of two children from the Roma community into care comes just one week after the Government announced that people from abroad would account for a disproportionate 50 per cent of social welfare checks as part of a new crackdown on fraud,” said Charlton.

“Any targeting of an individual community for such scrutiny, on the basis of unfounded perceptions that they are more likely than others to break the law, is wrong,” she said.

Read: Child removed, then returned to Roma family in Athlone >

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

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