A 19-year-old woman has been before a special District Court sitting in Midleton, County Cork, charged in connection with taking baby John Donal O'Brien from the Erinville Maternity hospital in Cork City last night. The newborn baby had earlier been reunited with his parents, John and Brigid O'Brien from Ballyporeen, County Tipperary, after he had been discovered by two Gardaí at a hotel in Midleton. The Southern Health Board has said it is conducting a review of security at the Erinville.
Nineteen-year-old Susan McGovern from Kilbrian, Ballinamult, Dungarvan in County Waterford was charged with intentionally taking the baby without lawful authority from the control of his mother Brigid at the Erinville Hospital last night. She spoke just once during the short court hearing, confirming that she was unemployed when Judge Michael Patwell asked her if she could afford a solicitor.
Just over 12 hours after the two-day old baby boy was snatched from the nursery at the hospital, he was found by Gardaí. Apparently, the extensive search they conducted throughout the night led to the discovery of the red Toyota Corolla that is believed to have been used in the getaway from the hospital. The car was parked in a hotel car park and the baby, along with a woman Gardaí had been seeking in connection with the removal of the baby, were found inside.
The news was conveyed to the baby's parents, Brigid and John O'Brien from Ballyporeen in County Tipperary, who were in considerable distress since the alarm was first raised at 7.20pm last night. John O'Brien had made a public appeal for the return of the baby in the early hours of this morning.
The Southern Health Board has defended security at the hospital. Management there have been anxious to point out that their security tagging system raised the alarm. They said that they do not want to replace the caring environment at the hospital with austere security measures. During a stormy media conference this afternoon, it said that measures are now being reviewed and lessons would be learned.