The European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC) welcomes the Irish Government’s multiple apologies regarding the unlawful removal of two Romani children from their families in October 2013 and the publication of the report by the Ombudsman for Children on the same matter. The ERRC urges the Irish authorities to develop the necessary policy and legal mechanisms, as suggested in the Ombudsman’s report, to ensure full integration of Roma in society. The ERRC further expects all measures to be taken to ensure unlawful removal of children does not occur in the future.
In October 2013, the Irish police (An Garda Síochána) removed two Romani children, a two-year-old boy in Westmeath and a seven-year-old girl in Dublin, from their families, because they looked different than the other family members. This happened shortly after Greek security forces removed a child, who became known as ‘Maria’ , from her Romani family on the basis that she was blond-haired and blue-eyed. After positive DNA tests, the Irish authorities returned the two children to their families.