Interim Care Orders for abandoned African sisters – 2014vol3#22

An ex-parte Interim Care Order was granted in the District Court for two abandoned African teenagers who were living in a residential unit for separated children.

The CFA solicitor told the court that the sisters were unaccompanied minors and were seeking asylum. They were being accommodated by the state as they were abandoned. Investigations were being carried out to ascertain the whereabouts of the parents. Both teenagers had gone through an age assessment and were deemed to be under-18. DNA tests had also been carried out and they were a 100 per cent biological match.

The putative father, who lived in another jurisdiction, was not acknowledging paternity and the girls wanted nothing to do with him or their mother. The social work department had no telephone number for the mother and her location was unknown.

The social worker for separated children told the court that early this year the girls had been located by immigration officials at Dublin airport without any parents. They were separated children seeking asylum. The social work out-of-hours’ service had been contacted from the airport. He told the court that nobody was volunteering to care for the children, they had no friends and no relatives and they wanted to live in Ireland.

The older girl (A) had been sexually abused by the uncle of her father, who had raped her in front of her younger sister (B). His behaviour had started to be inappropriate with B but he had not raped her. When the girls told their father he said they were witches and refused to believe them. From that moment the relationship was fractured and the girls went to live with their paternal grandmother who arranged for them to travel out of the jurisdiction.

The judge granted the Interim Care Order and said as it was not possible at that time to notify the parents the interests of justice dictated that the court should make the order in the absence of notification.

Service out of the jurisdiction on each of the parents was made, the CFA made the application under order 11, rule 3. It was not possible for the mother’s separate address to be specified, but there was an address in Africa, so service was made by registered post on each of the parents on the addresses set out and also at the father’s email address.

The CFA solicitor told the court that both girls were very mature and were doing very well in school. With regard to section 26, the voice of the child, the judge joined A and B as parties to the proceedings under section 25 and appointed joint representation to them.