An interim care order was extended in Dublin District Court in respect of a teenage Muslim child who arrived in the country unaccompanied. The child was discovered in a house by the Gardaí following a search. There were suspicions that the child had been trafficked into the country.
The interim care order had been made the previous month and the child had been placed in a residential unit. The GAL supported the application.
The social work team leader said the child had settled well. He was described as “a good boy but anxious.” At the end of Ramadan, the child wanted to go to the mosque but there was a concern he may have had contact with people in the mosque. Following his visit, the child was anxious to leave the unit without staff and needed staff to accompany him to and from school.
The child had a strong relationship with the social worker and he wished to seek asylum in Ireland. The team leader said: “We would evaluate whether that is in his best interests. There are trafficking concerns.” It was thought the child may have relatives in the United Kingdom. The child was part of an investigation by the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB) and he had had one interview.
The team leader said: “The house was under surveillance and I would have concerns about the adults with him [in the house]. There was a conflict in the information provided by the child and the others involved in the GNIB investigation. The child was very guarded about giving information and told the social workers that his father was deceased and he did not want to talk to his mother.
The team leader added: “He is safe in our care. We want permission to talk to the family ourselves following the investigation with GNIB.”
The GAL carried out an investigation and met the child. The child had very poor English and an interpreter was engaged on the phone for the meeting. The GAL went through the information with the child and he agreed the facts. The child told the Gardaí initially that he did not want to stay in Ireland but he later told the GAL he was settled and wished to remain.
The child was forging links at school and improving his language skills. The separated children team had arranged other facilities for him over the summer for school.
The judge extended the interim care order for a period of 28 days.