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Monday 11 December 2023 Dublin: 8°C

Judge orders video footage of child being taken into care be seized over social media fears

Tusla had concerns that the footage would be posted on YouTube.

A JUDGE HAS directed that footage taken by a mother of the events surrounding her seven month old baby girl being brought into care by the authorities be seized by gardaí.

At the Ennis Family Law Court, Judge Patrick Durcan made the order after a solicitor for Tusla, the Child and Family Agency (CFA), Kevin Sherry expressed concern that the footage taken by the mother may be posted on YouTube. 

Judge Durcan directed that the footage be seized when making an eight day emergency care order for the baby girl.

Two social workers from Tusla met with the mother at her home this week and they called gardaí to assist. In evidence for the emergency care order, an officer told the court that when he got to the home, he saw that the mother was under the influence of an intoxicant “and wasn’t in any fit state to look after the child”.

He said that gardaí at the scene invoked emergency powers under the Child Care Act that allowed them to take the baby from the mother into care. The garda agreed with Sherry that the grounds were present to invoke “this measure of last resort”.

Sherry said that Tusla were concerned that the mother was filming the social workers during the event. Judge Durcan said: “That shouldn’t happen.” Sherry said that Tusla had concerns that the footage would be posted on YouTube.

Sherry asked that Judge Durcan make an order that no recording of any kind be published on any online medium. In response, Judge Durcan ordered that: “No recording taken by the mother of the events surrounding the taking of the child into care should be transmitted in any form to any third party.”

Judge Durcan also ordered that any such recording be surrendered to gardaí and said that he would direct officers to take steps in consultation with Tusla to immediately obtain and seize the recordings.

The judge also granted to Tusla an eight day emergency care order for the baby girl. The father of the baby girl was in court and the court heard that the mother wasn’t able to make it to court.

The father told Judge Durcan that he consented to the making of the emergency order. Judge Durcan said that over the next eight days, Tusla will decide the best thing to do in relation to the welfare of the baby girl. Comments are off to protect the identity of the child