At least 64 unaccompanied asylum-seeking children went missing
from the Health Services Executive’s care in the Republic of
Ireland in 2004 – 51 of whom are still yet to be found, it
emerged this week, writes Amy Taylor.
Sixty-two of the children were cared for by the HSE’s east
coast area, where 50 are still missing. Two disappeared from the
southern area’s care, one of whom has yet to be found.
Cabrini Gibbons, a legal officer at the Irish Refugee Council,
accused the Garda of making less effort to raise public awareness
when an unaccompanied asylum seeking child went missing than when
an Irish child disappeared.
She warned that some of the missing children could be working
illegally in Ireland and that others could be at risk of sexual
A spokesperson for the Garda denied that missing Irish children
were given preferential treatment, arguing that whether the child
was an asylum seeker or Irish made no difference to the amount of
publicity they would try to generate. However, he added that
families of unaccompanied asylum seeker children were more likely
not to want any publicity than Irish families.
He insisted there was regular communication between the HSE
areas and themselves once a case of a missing asylum-seeking child
had been referred to them.
For more details see 24 February issue of Community