Dáil Éireann - Volume 523 - 05 October, 2000
Written Answers. - Missing Persons.
Mrs. Owen Mrs. Owen
22. Mrs. Owen asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the steps which were taken by the Garda to trace the whereabouts of a person (details supplied) after the force was informed by the health board of her disappearance; if he regards the action taken as sufficient; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20883/00]
Mr. Shatter Mr. Shatter
 141. Mr. Shatter asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the steps which were taken by the Garda to trace the whereabouts of a person (details supplied) after the force was informed by the health board of her disappearance; if he regards the action taken as sufficient; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20902/00]
Mr. O'Donoghue Mr. O'Donoghue
Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform (Mr. O'Donoghue): I propose to take Questions Nos. 22 and 141 together.
I am informed by the Garda authorities that the person referred to by the Deputy was committed to Newtown House under the care of the South Western Area Health Board in Newtownmountkennedy in October 1998 by order of the High Court. Newtown House is a high support unit for emotionally and behaviourally disturbed adolescents.
I have been assured by the Garda authorities that the appropriate steps were taken by the gardaí to locate the person referred to by the Deputy following receipt of the missing person report. The details, in this regard, are set out below.
I am informed by the Garda authorities that the person in question absconded on Friday, 28 July 2000 while on work experience as a domestic aid at a nursing home in Bray. Gardaí at Wicklow station were informed of the fact by staff at Newtown House on 28 July 2000 via a telephone call at 8.30 pm and a description was provided. This person had absconded from Newtown House on a number of previous occasions, invariably being located either in the city centre or Dun Laoghaire. For this reason, similar calls were made by the staff of Newtown House on 28 July 2000 to Dun Laoghaire, Bridewell, Store Street and Pearse Street Garda stations. A detailed description and photograph was subsequently transmitted by the staff of Newtown House to these stations on 30 July 2000. The parents of the person who absconded were also notified of the situation.
I am also informed that on the evening of 31 July 2000, the gardaí were notified of a High Court order made on that date which directed the commissioner and members of the Garda Síochána to search for, arrest, detain and return the person referred to, to Newtown House. Her description was subsequently circulated nation-wide from Garda headquarters on 1 August 2000. There is no report of any subsequent Garda sighting prior to her death on 24 August 2000. I understand that on the 10 August she indicated in a telephone call to a care worker at Newtown House that she had been twice stopped and on another occasion chased by gardaí. No evidence to support this has, however, emerged. In the course of that call she also intimated that she did not intend returning to Newtown House.
On the morning of Thursday, 24 August 2000, she was found in a collapsed state in a room at a guesthouse in Talbot Street, and was sub sequently pronounced dead. She was not a registered guest.
There is further detail available to the gardaí and also further Garda investigations under way to elicit the precise whereabouts of this young girl during the entire period since she absconded on 28 July 2000. It would not be appropriate, however, pending the submission of all the information to the city coroner – when it is all available – to make further comment and I am sure the Deputies will appreciate the reasons for this.
Dáil Éireann 523 Written Answers. Missing Persons.