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Ireland‘s police force and health service have been forced into an embarrassing U-turn over the seizure of a young Roma girl from her family because she had blue eyes and blonde hair.

The Irish justice minister, Alan Shatter, has asked the head of the Irish police force, the Garda Síochána, to report on this case and another one involving a two-year-old Roma boy also taken from his family by the authorities.

The seven-year-old was handed back to her Roma parents this evening after DNA results showed that she was in fact their child.

After a family court hearing in central Dublin, the family issued a statement stating that there was never “any proper or sufficient basis to take their daughter away from them”.

The two-year-old boy was removed on Tuesday night from a family living in Athlone, Co Westmeath, in the Irish midlands. DNA samples were taken from the child as well as the Roma couple who are the child’s parents.

Police officers then returned the boy to the family this morning. It is not clear if they did so following the results of any DNA tests.

The girl had been held in care by the health service after the police raided the family’s home in Tallaght, Dublin, on Monday afternoon. Garda officers refused to believe the child’s parents, who protested that she was their daughter. But the parents and their other children always insisted that the child was their daughter and said tonight that had been verified.

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