- The seven-year-old was put into care on Monday in south Dublin suburb
- DNA tests proved she is the daughter of the Roma couple
- Police received tip-off that a fair-haired girl was living with large Roma family
- Campaign groups call for inquiry into the ‘abduction’ by authorities
A blonde girl who was taken away from her Roma parents in Ireland was reunited with them last night after DNA tests proved she is their daughter.
The seven-year-old was back with her family two days after ten officers stormed into her home in Dublin and removed her.
Police took the drastic step after a member of the public expressed concern that a girl living in the end-of-terrace house bore no physical resemblance to her siblings.
The tip-off from a neighbour was prompted by global coverage of the story of little Maria, who was found in Greece last week.
Last night the Dublin girl’s 21-year-old sister said the family was ‘very excited to have her back’.
At the family home in a south Dublin suburb she said: ‘During this ordeal I always knew that she was my sister and that my parents were her real mother and father.
But the police didn’t believe us, so we’ve had to wait for DNA tests to prove it.
‘We haven’t seen her since she was taken on Monday, and the last time we saw her, she was very traumatised. This is the first time she has been without us and it has been very hard on the family. We’re just relieved she’s coming home and we’re going to have a big party to celebrate.’
In a separate incident it emerged yesterday that police removed a blond two-year-old boy from his Roma parents in Athlone, a town in the centre of Ireland, on Tuesday amid similar concerns over his appearance.
They were reunited yesterday after the authorities were satisfied he is related to them.
Senior detectives and health officials are facing allegations of incompetence and of racial profiling for sanctioning the removal of both children based on flimsy and unsubstantiated evidence.
Tallaght Garda station in Dublin where the blonde-haired, blue-eyed seven-year-old girl was taken before she was put into care
The seven-year-old girl’s ordeal began when a member of the public wrote a message on the Facebook page of Paul Connolly Investigates, a current affairs Irish TV programme.
THREE GREEK ROMA PEOPLE ARRESTED FOR ‘CHILD ABDUCTION’
Police in Greece say they have arrested three Greek Roma people suspected of child abduction.
Police say the suspects allegedly tried to register the two-and-a-half month old boy as their own, but raised suspicions because they lacked sufficient documentation.
Regional police chief Panagiotis Kordonouris says the 19-year-old woman, her 21-year-old companion and his 51-year-old mother were arrested Wednesday at a Roma settlement outside the island capital of Mytilini.
Kordonouris said they told police an unknown Roma woman gave them the baby in Athens.
Last week, a Roma couple in the mainland town of Farsala was charged with abducting a girl known as ‘Maria’ found living with them.
The author of the message made reference to the case of Maria and added: ‘There is also a little girl living in a Roma house and she is blonde and [has] blue eyes.’
The message then accused the Roma people of stealing children ‘to get child benefits in Europe’.
Mr Connolly passed the message to the police.
Yesterday the girl’s mother broke down in tears as she revealed her torment for the first time.
The 35-year-old mother of six told the Daily Mail: ‘We all feel terrible about what has happened. How would anybody feel if their child was taken from them? This is a terrible thing to happen to us.’
Another of the girl’s sisters said: ‘The authorities have treated us very badly. This is racism.’
When asked why her sister had blonde hair and blue eyes, she said: ‘It’s not usual, but it does happen that some of us will have blue eyes.
‘I used to be blonde when I was small and my mother used to be blonde.
We have another child that has blue eyes. If you go to Romania, you will see other Romanians with blue eyes.’
‘MY BABY WAS CRYING FOR HIS MOTHER’: ORDEAL OF ROMA PARENTS
A Roma family has described how they were left devastated as their crying toddler was taken from their home by Irish authorities.
The blond and blue-eyed two-year-old boy, from Athlone in Ireland, has been reunited with his parents today after being put into State care over concerns about the little boy’s appearance.
His father said: ‘I was upset, I just felt so sad – they took my baby.’
Gardai were believed to be acting on concerns about the little boy’s appearance, but were satisfied about his identity after carrying out inquiries.
The boy spent a night in the care of the Health Service Executive.
‘A guard knocked on my door on Tuesday night and told me he wanted to bring my son to the health centre,’ the father said.
‘I said, “Why? Not a chance,” but he said, “Please, we just need to take a sample, and a swab from you and your partner”.’
The father, who moved to Ireland with his extended family from Romania nearly a decade ago, said they had been living in Athlone for five years. He said his son had been born in nearby Ballinasloe.
The father said neither he nor his family had heard about a seven-year-old girl who was taken from her home in Tallaght, Dublin because they do not watch Irish TV or listen to the news.
The man and his partner stayed with their son while DNA samples were taken from all three at a health centre near their home, but the child was taken away at around 10pm on Tuesday.
‘He was crying for his mother and we were both so worried, but they told us he would be safe,’ the man said. ‘That is all I care about. That he was okay.’
The couple, who have another child, said she was confused and cried for her brother.
The parents returned to the same health centre this afternoon where they were reunited with their child. The father said he was not angry with gardai – just glad to have his boy back home.
The child’s grandfather said: ‘Imagine someone taking your wallet, or your coat or something like that, you worry about it. But for someone to take away a child, it is very bad.’
Charges: Hristos Salis, 39, left, and Eleftheria Dimopoulou, 40, right, are appearing at a courthouse in Larissa to answer charges of abducting a minor and holding false papers. They are pictured here last Thursday