Friday 21 October 2016

Pregnant woman who was the subject of major gardai search delivers baby

Four Courts
Four Courts

A nine months pregnant mother of four, who was the centre of a major search by gardai on Friday, has been traced and “has happily had her baby,” the High Court was told today.

The High Court issued the search and find directions on Friday after hearing that the 30-year-old woman had failed to turn up at a hospital to have the delivery of her baby induced.

The judge had been told the woman, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, presented a “high risk” pregnancy due to a medical condition.

Tim O’Leary SC, who appeared with barrister Sarah McKechnie for the HSE, told Mr Justice Anthony Hunt today that the mother had been found on Friday evening and happily her child had been delivered on Sunday.

Judge Hunt vacated all orders made on Friday by his colleague, Mr Justice Michael Moriarty, and said he hoped the intervention of the court had been helpful.  He was satisfied there had been no attempt on behalf of the woman concerned to evade anything.

Judge Moriarty was told that the HSE had tried to contact her through direct calls and texts and family members had also been contacted after the woman, who was 39.5 weeks pregnant, failed to attend her medical appointment. An Garda Siochana had also visited her address.

Mr O’Leary had told the court the woman had a long history of involvement with child protection services in relation to her ability to care for her children.

He said her first two children had been taken into care and now lived with their maternal grandparents. Her third child had been adopted in the UK and her fourth one had been placed in foster care.

Mr O’Leary said there were significant risk factors in the woman’s ability to parent, including evidence of neglectful parenting, eventual abandonment and inconsistency with accepting assistance from professional services throughout pregnancy.

The HSE was granted orders permitting An Garda Siochana to immediately search for, arrest without warrant and detain the vulnerable woman to transfer her to a hospital.  The court made orders to immediately transfer and detain the woman to a hospital to undergo assessment and monitoring as was deemed appropriate.

Judge Moriarty was told the matter was extremely urgent as, because of her medical condition, there were significant risks to the wellbeing of the lives of the mother and her unborn child.

The court heard that the HSE and the Gardai believed she may be with a sister. She would be assessed by psychiatrists when transferred to hospital.

Judge Moriarty, describing the case as a “genuine human emergency” granted the reliefs sought by the HSE and adjourned the case until today.

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