Gardaí seek to issue photo of girl found in Dublin

Updated: Thursday, 31 Oct 2013 23:11

Gardaí have asked the High Court to allow them to release a picture of a teenage girl found in the capital three weeks ago.

Gardaí say they have exhausted every avenue in their attempt to identify her.

The teenage girl is currently receiving treatment. 

Lawyers representing her legal guardian are challenging the Health Service Executive's plan to place her in a non-secure facility when that treatment is completed.

This morning, Mr Justice George Birmingham said that matters relating to childcare were in the public interest and there was a public interest in how the authorities respond to cases such as this. 

However, he ordered that the media should not report anything that might identify the girl or where she is now located.

The senior counsel representing her legal guardian, Felix McEnroy, handed in a letter to the judge from the girl, written on green paper. 

He said the girl was very pleased about the involvement of the High Court and her remarks in the letter were inviting the court to assist.

Lawyers for the HSE asked the court to adjourn the challenge to the girl's placement for a week in the hope that a solution could be worked out in that time.

Separately, lawyers for the gardaí asked the court to allow them to release a picture of the girl, whose identity has still not been established.  

Lawyer Genevieve Coonan for the gardaí told the court that more than 80 angles had been followed up to try to establish her identity. 

She said gardaí believed criminal offences had been committed, possibly against the girl.  

She said they had exhausted all avenues of investigation and were at deadlock: the only avenue left she said was to release a photo. 

Lawyers for the HSE told the court they believed publication could have a disturbing effect on her and social workers did not believe this would be in the best interests of the girl at the moment. 

However, lawyers for her legal guardian said they believed it would be in her interests to be identified.

Justice Birmingham said he would defer the question of issuing a photo until Monday to allow the girl a few more days to stabilise a bit more and become more comfortable with the professionals who are dealing with her.  

He said he would order the release of the photo on Monday unless there was some change in circumstances.