January 31st, 2015

World Exclusive: Blonde-haired, blue-eyed girl (7) taken from Roma family in Dublin

NewsBy Mick McCaffrey
Maria: a Roma family in Dublin have also had a blonde haired, blue eyed child taken from them into care of HSE
Maria: a Roma family in Dublin have also had a blonde haired, blue eyed child taken from them into care of HSE

A blonde haired blue-eyed seven year-old girl has been taken from a Roma family in Dublin and into care by the HSE in a case remarkably similar to the Greek stolen child scandal.

The Sunday World can exclusively reveal that the child, who is living with a Roma gypsy family in Tallaght in south Dublin, was taken away by gardai following a major investigation on Monday afternoon.

Gardai received a tip-off from a member of the public that a six or seven year-old girl was living with a large Roma family but looked nothing like any of her supposed siblings.

Officers from the child protection unit attached to Tallaght station called to the home on Monday afternoon and spoke with two Roma adults.

There were a number of children in the house and one was a young girl who had blonde hair and striking blue eyes.

She looked nothing like anybody else in the house but the adults maintained that the girl was their daughter.

They were asked to produce a birth certificate but could not find one. In the meantime gardai made contact with a hospital consultant in and asked if it was possible for Romas to give birth to blonde children, considering their natural dark complexions.

The consultant said that this would be extremely unusual. The parents claimed that the child was born in the Coombe hospital in Dublin in April 2006 but when gardai contacted the Coombe they had no record of the child having been born on the date the parents claimed. 

After two hours in the house the parents eventually produced a birth cert and a passport. However the birth cert was inconclusive and the passport picture was of a baby and could not be matched to the seven year-old.

Senior gardai visited the house and contact was made with the HSE. It was decided to take the child into HSE care while an investigation continues.

It is understood that gardai may seek to take DNA samples from the parents and the child to fully determine whether they are the biological parents.

Nobody has been arrested and gardai are trying to confirm the information given to them from the Roma parents.

They have lived in Ireland for years but it is understood they regularly go back to Romania.

A garda spokesman has confirmed that an investigation is underway.

The Tallaght case is similar to the case in Greece that has made headlines around the world.

A young blonde haired girl was seized from a Roma camp by police after they became suspicious that she looked nothing like her alleged parents.

The child, who is aged between four and six and is known as ‘Maria’, only speaks a Roma dialect and it is feared that she was kidnapped.

Her supposed parents Christos Salis (39) and Eleftheria Dimopoulou (40) have been remanded in custody by a Greek magistrate while the police investigation continues.

The pair claim they took in the child as an “act of charity” because her natural mother could not look after her.

When officers raided the encampment which was 200 miles north of Athens, they found weapons and drugs.

It has been claimed that Maria was made to dance for money and was generally mistreated.

Greek police have received dozens of tip-offs from around the world about who ‘Maria’ might be.

It is understood they are treating a handful of leads as promising. 

The case has raised the hopes of families of stolen children like Ben Needham and Madeleine McCann, that they may still be alive after being trafficked into child slavery or adoption rings.