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Blonde girl taken from gypsy family
A blonde-haired, blue-eyed seven year-old girl has been put into care after being taken from a Roma family in Ireland.
A member of the public raised concerns about the child living with the gypsy family in a house in a south Dublin suburb.
No arrests have been made and there is no allegation of abduction against the family.
The youngster was put into the care of the Health Service Executive (HSE) yesterday afternoon when the family were unable to prove her identity conclusively.
The couple have told gardai that the girl, who they said was born in a Dublin hospital in April 2006, is their daughter.
They have several other children who have not been taken into care.
The youngster is said to be physically well and is due to be interviewed by specialist officers.
Unlike the case where a girl, known as Maria, was found in a gypsy settlement near Farsala in central Greece, DNA tests have yet to confirm that the couple she was found with are not her parents.
The only similarity is that the girl taken into care is a blonde-haired, blue-eyed child and had a different appearance from that of the couple she was living with.
In the Greek case, a DNA test on Maria proved she was not related to Christos Salis, 39, and Eleftheria Dimopoulou, 40, and the couple have been held on charges of abduction and document fraud.
Gardai are trying to establish the identity of the girl taken into care in Dublin and have contacted Europol and Interpol about missing children while investigations continue in Ireland.
It is understood that gardai may seek to take DNA samples from the parents and the child to fully determine whether they are her biological parents.
It is understood that officers spent several hours at the property yesterday as they waited for documents to be produced.
A birth certificate was deemed to be inconclusive and a passport bore a picture of a baby and could not be matched to the seven-year-old.
The parents claimed that the girl was born in the Coombe Hospital in Dublin, but when gardai contacted medical staff they had no record of a child with the family name being born on the date the parents claimed.
Pavee Point, a rights groups that works on behalf of Irish travellers and the Roma community, called for the girl's case to be expedited.
"Pavee Point are concerned about witch-hunts against a vulnerable community and old stereotypes of an entire community being propagated in the media coverage of this development," a spokesman said.
"Actions by the state need to be evidence based and due process needs to be accorded to all communities living in Ireland.
"There is a real danger that precipitative action, undertaken on the basis of appearance, can create the conditions for an increase in racism and discrimination against the Roma community living here."
Pavee Point said that Roma children are grossly overrepresented in state care institutions in Europe and the main underlying reasons are poverty and discrimination.