A young Dublin mother was last night being cared for in hospital after she gave birth on a street corner during below-freezing conditions.
The inner-city community, who is aged in her twenties, was in a state of shock after a woman went into labour on the corner of Linenhall Street and North King Street at around 1am yesterday.
The incident happened at a time when temperatures dropped to -1C.
Despite reports that the woman was homeless, a source told the Herald that she was not a client of Dublin Region Homeless Executive's (DRHE) services.
However, she is described as extremely vulnerable.
While gardai say there is no criminal aspect to the incident, they are gathering information to establish how the woman came to gave birth on a cold street corner in a landscape of pavements, walls and railings.
Thankfully, the mother - who is from Finglas - and her baby are understood to be well and were being cared for in a Dublin hospital last night.
In her distressed state, the woman is believed to have carried her baby 1km away from where she gave birth up to Inns Quay, before being picked up by an ambulance at the Four Courts.
The ambulance had been called by concerned passers-by.
One local witness said he heard a woman screaming on the street around 1am.
"At first I thought it was horseplay, but she kept screaming so I looked out," said the man.
"I saw a lady who was very distressed and people running to her. There were four people who crossed the road to her, and a man in a car stopped too.
"They were giving her scarves and clothes. There was a lot of material changing hands and people were pointing down on the street.
"I didn't fully understand what was going on, and then the woman walked away and the people who had helped her were putting their hands to their heads as if they were in panic.
"I could see someone on a phone."
One of the concerned people who had come to the woman's aid followed her while directing emergency services, and she was treated by an ambulance crew at Inns Quay before being taken to hospital.
Gardai sealed off the scene, as well as the location where the woman was met by the ambulance.
It is understood that due to the sensitive nature of the stress she has experienced it may take some time before she can be interviewed.
Several possibilities are being considered by authorities, including that the woman may not have disclosed her pregnancy to anyone or may not even have been aware she was expecting.
"There are more questions than answers at this stage, and we have to be aware of the sensitive nature of the case," said one source.
Local Independent councillor Christy Burke told the Herald that it is important that an investigation is carried out.
"It's an absolute travesty that she had to give birth on the side of a road," he said.
"It's just unthinkable that we have come to this.
"Regardless of the circumstances, I'm sure this very distressing incident will prove that the Government need to take drastic action into caring for those that need the most help.
"Thank God members of the public came to this woman's aid and that she's now being taken care of."