Interim care order for unaccompanied boy who was separated from brother on journey – 2022vol1#34

A judge granted an interim care order for a teenage boy who arrived unaccompanied into the state and appointed a female guardian ad litem.

The social work team leader said they were unsure of how the young boy had arrived into the state but that he had been travelling for some months. He had travelled through the Middle East and into Europe. His father had arranged transport for him and his brother but he had become separated from his brother during the journey.

He had presented to the international protection office at the port and had stated he was fleeing. He spoke very little English and was unsure where his brother was. He was unsure if his family were alive or dead. He did have contact details for an uncle, it was unclear if this was a blood uncle or a family friend, but there had been no contact with any family member for at least seven months.

He had settled into his placement, a residential unit with other unaccompanied minors who were all male. He had started school but was struggling as he had not been to school in his country of origin for some time. He had been attending extra English lessons. He would be attending an English summer school to improve his English, but it was thought it would be unlikely he would be able to transition to mainstream school for at least another year.

Religion was very important to him, and he attended services at his house of worship. He also preferred to wear traditional dress from his home country. His medical examination had not been completed. He wished to apply for international protection and that application had commenced. The team leader confirmed that he was satisfied the boy was under 18 and that he had no legal guardian in the state.

The judge asked the social work team leader why the boy had not applied for international protection when he was in another EU jurisdiction. She said the boy had said the place where he was staying had been raided by the police, he had become frightened and ran, that had precipitated the separation from his brother.

The judge said the court had concerns that the boy was drawing attention to himself by his dress and whilst that may be appropriate for religious services, if he was seeking status to remain, he must learn to integrate into Irish society. It was exceptionally important all priority was given to help him learn English.

The judge granted an interim care order and appointed a guardian ad litem (GAL). He said he would like to appoint a female GAL and the social work team leader agreed with this.