The High Court has awarded a Roma family, whose then two-year-old son was removed by gardai two years ago, €60,000 in damages under a settlement of their legal action.
The boy was removed from his home in Athlone Co. Westmeath in October 2013 after members of the public reported concerns he might not be the child of his parents.
He was returned to their care the following day.
Counsel for the family said the boy and another child, a seven-year-old blonde Roma girl, were both removed by gardaí from their homes in Athlone and Tallaght after a blonde child, “Maria”, was found in a Roma camp in Greece.
An action was taken by the parents on behalf of the child, seeking damages for false imprisonment, unlawful arrest and breach of his human rights.
Paul Connellan of Paul Connellan Solicitors, who represented the Roma family in the case, told The Right Hook on Newstalk “it was felt to be a reasonable offer.”
“The parents were very anxious to bring it to a conclusion and get on with life, effectively. It was felt ... given the difficulties that there may ahve been had the matter processed to a trial, the judge felt it was a reasonable offer,” he said.
“The case we were making was that the State in this case the gardaí acted precipitously and without full inquiry, and their reaction was exaggerated ... but all in all, the child made a full recovery afterwards,” he said.