Could this be Ireland’s 'Maria'? Police seize young blonde-haired, blue-eyed girl from Roma family in Dublin suburb

Gardai say they may seek DNA tests as they try to discover the identity of the seven-year-old, whom the Roma family insist is their daughter

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The Independent Online

A blonde-haired, blue-eyed seven-year-old girl has been taken from a Roma family in Ireland and put into care, prompting links to a similar case in Greece last week and claims that she could be the “Irish Maria”.

Following a tip-off apparently in the wake of an international appeal for the parents of a mystery blonde girl found living with a Roma family in Greece, gardai looked into the case in a south Dublin suburb.

They found a girl with a remarkably different physical appearance from that of the couple she was living with, and said the family was unable to provide conclusive proof that she was their daughter.

The unnamed girl was put into the care of the Health Service Executive yesterday afternoon, and officers are considering seeking DNA samples from the parents and child – as was used in ‘Maria’s’ case.

Unlike over in Greece, however, no arrests have been made and there are no allegations of abduction against the family. They have several other children, none of whom have been taken into care, and the child herself is said to be physically well.

The couple have told the gardai that the girl, who they say was born in Dublin in April 2006, is their daughter.

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.

Efforts to establish the identity of the girl are ongoing, and gardai have contacted Europol and Interpol about missing children while their own investigations continue.

Additional reporting by PA