Gardai find child in car with cut throat beside parents about to smoke heroin
Details of a shocking care order have been released in which gardai had to rescue a young child who was living in a car with his heroin addicted parents.
The garda who made the discovery found the child, who had a cut across his neck, in a car with three adults who were preparing to smoke heroin.
The garda explained the scene he came upon to the District Court:
“There were clear signs of drug use in the vehicle, there was burnt tin foil from smoking heroin,” he said.
“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.
“I gave them a card with my details on it, my name and address and my colleague searched the whole vehicle. We found on the driver side door a large lock knife.
“There was also half a garden shears in between the driver’s seat and the passenger’s seat and the child easily could have had access to it.
The garda took the child, who was hungry and dirty, to a nearby 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 had invoked Section 12 of the Child Care Act and the child was taken into emergency foster care for the night.
During the Interim 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 child then followed it up, saying:
“He punches me in the face and head and [punches] my mammy in the car.”
The Garda told the court that he had since brought the knife in the car for analysis and had done a swab from the child’s mouth.
The child’s DNA was found on the knife, but no blood had been found on it
The child’s parents gave gardai false names but were eventually tracked down through the boy's medical records and the garda PULSE system.
The father is currently in jail and is likely to remain incarcerated
The child’s mother had met with a social worker but fell asleep in reception and was heavily under the influence of a substance; she told the social worker that she had smoked heroin the night before and had taken tablets that morning.
The judge granted an interim care order and a guardian was appointed for the child.