Europe

Second child returned to Roma family in Ireland

A second child from a Roma family who was taken into care in the Republic of Ireland has been reunited with his parents.

The two-year-old boy was taken from his family on Tuesday in Athlone, County Westmeath and returned a day later.

It comes after relatives of a blonde-haired, blue-eyed girl taken into care in Dublin on Monday insisted she is a member of their family.

Police removed the seven-year-old girl from the home of a Roma family in the Tallaght area.

The police action took place against the background of international interest in the case of a blonde-haired child being taken from a Roma family in Greece last week.

Greek police are investigating whether the girl had been abducted.

In the first case in the Republic of Ireland, the parents told police the child was their daughter, but officers were not satisfied with the explanation nor with the documents that were produced.

A woman family member was adamant that the girl was her sister.

The family is co-operating with the investigation.

There has been some criticism of reporting of the case.

Dezideriu Gergely, executive director of the European Roma Rights Centre, told RTÉ, Ireland's state broadcaster, that links being made to the case in Greece "had been made prematurely".

Mr Gergely said it was important to remember that not all Roma were dark-skinned and many did have pale skin and blonde hair.

Images apparently released by members of the Roma family to the Irish press have thrown some doubt on just how distinctive the child in question is.

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