Press Release: Nasc welcomes publication of report on Roma children

Wed, July 2, 2014

(Photo by James Fraher / Bogfire)

(Photo by James Fraher / Bogfire)

Nasc welcomes the publication of the Children’s Ombudsman Emily Logan’s report on the Special Inquiry of An Garda Síochána, after the removal of two Roma children from their homes last year.  The report has finally been made public after it was received by the Minister for Justice in April 2014.

The report firmly details the sequence of erroneous decisions made by An Garda Síochána in the case of Child A from Athlone and Child T from Tallaght that led in each case to the final decision to invoke section 12 of the Child Care Act, 1991 and remove the children from their families while their identities were being determined.

“The reason the children’s identities were in question was largely because they looked different from their parents – they were blond and fair and their parents weren’t,” comments Nasc CEO Fiona Finn.

Ms. Finn continues, “What clearly emerges from the report is that the Gardaí went into the homes of these families because they were Roma, because of what was going on in the international media around a young Roma girl in Greece.  It has to do with long-standing prejudice against the Roma community that links Roma with criminality – particularly child abduction.”

“Ms. Logan quite clearly states that ethnic profiling was a factor in the decision-making of the Gardaí involved and while this vindicates what we have said all along in regards to these cases, we are eager to see concrete and positive action from the Department of Justice, An Garda Síochána and all of the parties involved, to take steps to eliminate discriminatory profiling and provide anti-racism and diversity training.  This should include specific training on Roma culture, as it is a community that is often perceived by An Garda Síochána as a policing ‘problem’.  Awareness of the issues that impact the Roma community, including poverty, homelessness, low literacy levels and discrimination, would go a long way towards rebuilding relationships between the Gardaí and Roma living in Ireland,” Ms. Finn states.

“Nasc are currently working closely with community Gardaí in Cork and the Garda Racial, Intercultural and Diversity Office, with the full support of Acting Garda Commissioner Noirín O’Sullivan, to develop an anti-racism and ethnic profiling training for Gardaí.  The training will include specific issues that impact migrant communities and especially the Roma community.  We will be piloting the training with Gardaí in Cork in the Autumn.”

“It is great to get the full support of the Acting Garda Commissioner and GRIDO on this project.  As this report highlights, this training is desperately needed and will go a long way towards preventing something like these incidents from happening in Ireland again.”

ENDS.

For media queries contact:

Jennifer DeWan, Nasc Campaigns and Communications

Email: Jennifer@nascireland.org

Phone: (021) 450 3462 or (086) 0853923