An Interim Care Order was extended in the District Court for a baby born to an Irish couple almost immediately after their arrival in Ireland from the UK. A daughter in UK was about to go into a closed adoption, the court was told.
The baby was extremely ill from birth due to opiate withdrawals, said the social worker, and was on phenobarbital for withdrawals. He had been discharged recently from hospital.
The CFA solicitor told the court that the couple were now presumed homeless, they had been given daily access to the baby while he was in hospital but had not availed of it. The parents were not engaging with the Dublin Simon Community or a local drug addiction service for some weeks now.
Although the parents’ whereabouts was unknown, the mother had called the social work department the week previously to seek an update on the baby’s development. She agreed to attend an appointment the following week prior to the court date, but had not done so. The social worker had made several phone calls but her mobile was switched off. She had left voice messages for her.
The mother’s solicitor told the court that he was in contact with the mother’s sister. He wished to come off record as he had no engagement from the mother and no instructions. The judge did not allow him to do so until he had written to the mother’s sister in a last attempt to make contact. The judge asked the social worker if she had contacted the social services in the United Kingdom and had consideration been given to reuniting the siblings.
The social worker told the court that as the parents were Irish the case had been closed in the UK once the baby was born here. However, the baby’s sister was due to be adopted in the UK. At this point therefore the goal was to establish contact with the parents.
Judge: “If there is going to be no contact by the parents, the sibling is the next closest relative. Consideration will have to be given of exploring the possibility of maintaining the sibling group for the benefit of the children.”