Newborn baby taken from its mum by Gardaí

Relates to:
Date: 2008-03-19

A NEWBORN baby has been taken from his mother at Wexford General Hospital amid concern for its welfare.

Emily Burgess (32), from the Great Yarmouth area of England, gave birth to her sixth child at Wexford General Hospital on Monday of last week, but the healthy baby boy was taken away from her by the Gardaí in Wexford last Tuesday.

Ms. Burgess fled her home to have her child in secret in Ireland as she feared that the baby would be taken away from her when born in England.

In a recent report in The Guardian, Ms. Burgess claimed her baby would be removed from her because her ex-partner was convicted of child cruelty.

Though Ms. Burgess insisted she has split up with the man, she said she was certain that social workers would still take the infant if she remained in England.

She is being supported by Liberal Democrat MP John Hemming, Chairman of the group Justice for Families, who said Burgess was a refugee' after she went missing on February 21 last.

The Norfolk Police issued a statement on March 3 saying that there was concern for her welfare and that of her unborn child' and that extensive enquiries with hospitals and midwives have failed to reveal any information leading to her'.

After getting the ferry to Rosslare it's understood that the heavily pregnant woman, due to give birth in late February, checked in at a local B&B.

A spokesman for the Wexford Gardaí said that Ms. Burgess did not travel to Wexford alone and it's believed that another woman came with her to look after her, a member of Justice for Families.

The National Health Service in England passed on information regarding Ms. Burgess to the Health Service Executive (HSE) when they became aware of her intention to travel to Ireland. The Gardaí in Wexford were then informed of the situation.

The Gardaí, liasing with the Norfolk Police, quickly became aware of where Ms. Burgess was staying and were informed when she went into labour and was transferred to Wexford General Hospital.

The Garda spokesman said they maintained a presence in the hospital on Monday, but were mindful of both the mother and child's welfare and the sensitive nature of the situation. Social workers from England also travelled to Wexford.

On Tuesday morning at New Ross District Court an emergency care order under Section 12 of the Childcare Act was granted enabling the Gardaí to take the child. It was then taken into care by the HSE.

It's believed that the baby boy is to be returned to social services in England though the HSE, when contacted, refused to comment on the case. Ms. Burgess was discharged from Wexford General Hospital on Tuesday.

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