Amnesty International Ireland today welcomed the Government’s publication of the report of the independent Special Inquiry by the Ombudsman for Children into the removal of two Roma children from their families in October 2013 based on unfounded concerns regarding their identity.
Colm O’Gorman, Executive Director, Amnesty International Ireland said: “We welcome the Government’s mandating the Children’s Ombudsman to conduct this inquiry. Today’s public apology by the Taoiseach and Minister to the two families is also important and welcome. However, the substantive response to the report will be the real test of the Government’s resolve. We urge that the report’s recommendations are implemented fully and swiftly.
The Ombudsman’s report finds the individual Garda in one of these cases did not hold prejudicial attitudes toward Roma. Nevertheless, the actions were discriminatory. In the second case, the Gardaí’s actions were deemed by the Ombudsman to meet the definition of ‘ethnic profiling’.
“Steps must be taken to ensure this discriminatory approach is not repeated. While the Ombudsman found no evidence from these cases of systemic racial profiling within An Garda Síochána, measures must be taken to identify and address any such concerns.
”When Ireland declined recommendations made to it by members of the UN Human Rights Council during its Universal Periodic Review in 2011 concerning racial profiling by its police, it stated that ‘An Garda Síochána does not engage in, or carry out, this practice’. It is time for the Government and the Gardaí to now determine if there is indeed a problem of racial profiling to be addressed.” said Colm O’Gorman.