The case of the Irish baby girl
Yesterday the Belfast Telegraph published the story of an Irish couple who made a few headlines, back in May, in the Portuguese media for placing their baby daughter at risk.
Shocked Hotel Paraíso guests and workers called the GNR [police authority] after seeing the child’s mother staggering with the baby in her arms on an 8th floor veranda, earlier on the child had been thrown into a swimming pool. The child was removed from the swimming pool with scratches to her legs and appearing to have been sedated. The mother, later on, confessed to having used sedatives on the baby. The GNR in their turn called an ambulance who drove the 14 month-old baby girl to Faro Hospital to be tested and examined and alerted the British consulate as well as the child protective service emergency response.
The couple, who at the time regretted what they had done and said they had understood the gravity of their actions, are now twisting the facts and blaming the GNR police and Faro Hospital staff for rescuing their child.
Ever year several British families visit the Algarve, every year at least one or two cases of drunk and disorderly parents who have endangered their own children lives or neglected their children will be reported to the proper police authorities and child protective services, only the extreme cases make it to the media, as was the case of this Irish couple. Using "McCann" comparisons and prejudices as devices to excuse their own criminal and neglectful behaviour has become common place.
What follows is the translation of two media reports, requested by a lady from Belfast, one from the well-respected Público daily newspaper and the other from TVI Portuguese TV channel that were published and broadcast, respectively, in May.
Irish baby in the Algarve - Parents constituted as arguidos [status given to a suspect of a crime]
14 month-old baby is still hospitalized
Broadcast by TVI, May 20 2014 at 13pm
Marisa Rodrigues (TVI journalist) - The baby girl remains hospitalized at the Faro Hospital, not because she needs urgent medical care but because the authorities wish to understand if the eventual return of the child back to her parents may signify placing the little girl again at risk. Before that, the Public Ministry wishes to analyse the clinical reports as well as the reports of the child protection services technicians in order to decide the future of the 14 month-old baby girl.
It was the GNR who rescued her from her parents, of Irish nationality, at the beginning of Sunday night [18th May], after being alerted by guests of this hotel in Albufeira, who were shocked with what they had witnessed. The mother was on an 8th floor veranda, staggering, bumping into the walls with the baby in her arms. The witnesses also guarantee they saw the parents throwing the baby into a swimming pool.
When the GNR officers entered the apartment, the baby was on her mother arms, who was staggering, while the father was lying down, almost passed out, both visibly drunk. The GNR called the INEM [emergency services/ambulance emergency response vehicle] and the mother ended up confessing she had given sedatives to her daughter, who was awaken without crying and had bruises and scratches on her legs.
The parents weren't arrested since they weren't caught in the act but were constituted as arguidos for suspicions of gross negligence and mistreatment. TVI knows that the Public Ministry has already ordered the Commission for the Protection of Children and Young People[CPJC] to question the parents and it won't make any decisions until the CPJC reports are concluded. For now the child is to remain in the Faro hospital, the girl is temporarily under the guardianship of the court.
British baby victim of parental neglect in the Algarve can return home
The little girl is still hospitalized at the Faro hospital after the parents, visibly drunk, threw her into the swimming pool and later on, still with troubles in keeping the balance, the mother carried the baby in her arms at the 8th floor veranda of the hotel
by Mariana Oliveira
The one year and a half Irish baby girl who has been the victim of neglect by her parents, an Irish couple who is on holidays in Albufeira, has received permission to return to the UK with her family. The decision was made by the Commission for the Protection of Children and Young People (CPCJ) in Albufeira, who questioned the parents and have already contacted the Irish child protection services that will accompany the family and will assess the possibilities of further danger to the little girl.
The girl remains hospitalized this Tuesday at the Faro hospital, where she was admitted on Sunday night after several guests alerted to the danger the baby was in. The parents, visibly drunk, had threw her in the afternoon into the swimming pool and later on, still with troubles in keeping the balance, the mother carried the baby in her arms at the 8th floor veranda of the hotel.
As the spokesman of the GNR of Faro, Lieutenant Colonel José Palhau, explained to the Público newspaper, the police were called to the hotel in Albufeira about 20.30pm, last Sunday, upon their arrival they were faced with a situation that led them to request medical assistance for the child. After an initial assessment, the child was transported to the paediatric service at the Faro hospital. “A police report was made and the case was sent to the Family and Minors Court of Portimão”, said José Palhau.
Contacted by Público, an official source at the hospital just confirmed that the child remains hospitalized, without advancing any further details on the clinical situation. Público found out, however, that the child is clinically well and the suspicions that the child had been sedated have not been validated.
The Attorney General's Office (PGR) confirmed that Public Ministry [prosecutors] at the Family and Minors Court of Portimão received a communication “concerning the possible hazardous situation” of the baby girl that is in Portugal with her parents. “The Public Ministry informed the Commission for the Protection of Children and Young People in Albufeira, the entity that has the competence to monitor the situation of the child, since the consent of the parents was obtained”, clarified the PGR. The Attorney General's Office also stressed that under the current Law of Protection of Children and Young People in Danger the judicial intervention is ancillary to the child protection committees, taking place only in cases where they do not obtain parental consent.
The president of CPCJ in Albufeira, Manuela Lima, who received the Public Ministry communication on Monday, has already taken several steps.“We've heard the parents of the child and have already contacted the British Consulate and our counterparts in the UK”, said Manuela Lima. She also stated that the parents of the baby “are aware of the gravity of their actions and are committed to the well-being of the child”. Since the family does not reside in Portugal, the committee considered that it would be better for the baby to return to the country of origin where, Manuela Lima guarantees, the situation will be monitored and evaluated by the local child protection services. “We have already sent the whole process to Ireland”, said the president of the CPCJ in Albufeira.
While the baby is in Portugal, the Commission shall continue to accompany her, articulating its activities with the hospital in Faro. Manuela Lima clarified as well that the custody of the baby was never taken away from the parents.
At the Paraíso Apartment Hotel in Albufeira, where the family is staying, no one was available to make further comments. A receptionist of this four star hotel, which consist of 396 apartments, stated she was not allowed to transfer phone calls from journalists to the Irish couple.
in Público newspaper, May 20, 2014 at 21pm
'New “British shame” as tot removed from drunken parents' by Natasha Donn at the Portugal Resident, May 20, 2014
'British baby girl seized by social services in Portugal after claims 'drunk parents threw 14-month-old' in swimming pool' by Sam Greenhill at the Daily Mail, May 20, 2014
'Belfast couple deny being drunk on Portugal trip as police take tot into care' by Joanne Sweeney at the Belfast Telegraph, May 24, 2014
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