Blonde girl, 7, removed from Dublin Roma family

image captionThe couple claimed the child was born in the Coombe hospital in Dublin in 2006

Police in the Republic of Ireland have removed a seven-year-old blonde girl from a Roma family in Dublin.

The girl was taken into care after officers called to a house in Tallaght on Monday afternoon.

They saw a number of children, including the seven-year-old girl, who has blonde hair and blue eyes.

The parents told police the child was their daughter, but officers were not satisfied with the explanation nor with the documents that were produced.

The Sunday World newspaper reported that a birth certificate was believed to have eventually been produced but officers were not satisfied with it.

The paper reported that although the couple said the child was born in the Coombe hospital in Dublin in 2006, the hospital appeared to have no record of the child being born on the date quoted by the parents.

media captionDublin residents said they were shocked by the news

The child was removed from the family under powers in the Child Care Act.

It is understood the child is now in the care of the Health Service Executive (HSE).

It is standard procedure in such cases for tests to be carried out to determine who the child belongs to.

Police had been told by a member of the public that a six or seven-year-old girl was living with a large Roma family and looked nothing like any of her siblings.

Last week a young blonde girl was found during a raid on a Roma camp in central Greece.


image captionA member of the public called the Child Protection Unit at Tallaght Garda Station with concerns over the girl

A Roma couple have been formally charged with abducting the girl, named Maria, and have been placed in detention pending a trial.

DNA tests showed that she was not related to the couple, who insist they were given her legitimately.

Maria is being cared for by a charity in Athens, which has received more than 8,000 calls after an appeal.

The case has brought a response from two families in the UK with long-missing children.

Ben Needham from Sheffield disappeared aged 21 months while on a family holiday on the Greek island of Kos in 1991. His sister said the discovery of the blonde-haired girl in central Greece gave them "great hope".

A spokesman for Kate and Gerry McCann, whose three-year-old daughter Madeleine went missing in Portugal in 2007, said the case also gave them hope that she would one day be found alive.

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