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30/07/2021

Tipperary child abduction accused are released on bail

Tipperary child abduction accused are released on bail

Nenagh Court: Judge Elizabeth MacGrath granted bail to two people accused of child abduction in Thurles

Three people each accused of two counts of child abduction in Thurles have now been granted bail in the case.

The three cannot be named for legal reasons are alleged to have abducted two children aged eight and six who went missing in Northern Ireland in May and were subsequently found in an unoccupied house in Thurles following a nationwide search.

At Nenagh Court last Friday, two of the accused, an uncle of the children, who is aged 41, and an aunt of the children aged 34, were granted bail by Judge Elizabeth MacGrath.

The third accused, the children's grandmother aged 51, had earlier been granted bail by the High Court.

At last Friday's sitting of Nenagh Court Court, Det Sgt Andrew Lyons said that the charges originally brought against the three were being withdrawn but a new set of charges that the three had abducted two children at Stradavoher in Thurles had been brought against them that morning. The three are charged under Section 17 of the Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act, 1997.

He said that, when charged, the grandmother replied: "It's all lies. He is my grandchild. I didn't abduct anybody."

The grandmother had been granted High Court bail in her own bond of €4,000, with a cash lodgement of €4,000, and Sgt Lyons said the gardaí had no objection to continuing bail in line with the conditions laid down by the High Court.

Among the conditions were that the woman remain at an address in County Wexford, abide by a curfew of 9pm to 8am, carry a fully charged mobile phone at all times, have no contact with her grandchildren, remain out of Northern Ireland and the UK and remain in the Republic of Ireland, surrender her passport and national identity card and not to apply for any new travel documents.

Sgt Lyons said that the children's uncle made no reply when charged. Bail was objected to on the basis that an order had been obtained in May in a Belfast court to take four children into care. However, two of the children could not be located in Northern Ireland. 

Sgt Lyons believed the man would not remain in this jurisdiction if granted bail and evidence had been given at an earlier court of an attempt to leave the State.

He said that all three had been found in possession of passports for other children in Thurles and a ferry had been booked.

The court heard the man had 17 previous convictions in Northern Ireland and five in his native country.

A similar case for the children's aunt to be remanded in custody was made. 

However, Judge Elizabeth MacGrath said she had to be guided by the High Court decision to grant bail to the grandmother and that there as no indication when their trial would take place.

She said she was "comfortable enough" to go along with the bail granted in the High Court, and granted bail to the aunt and uncle on the same basis as bail was granted to the grandmother, with an extra condition that neither drive a vehicle nor be in contact with their nephews.

Sgt Lyons said that he accepted that the conditions were stringent.

The court was told that the Director of Prosecutions had indicated that the charges proceed on indictment.

Judge MacGrath adjourned the matter to September 28, 2021, at Thurles Court to allow for service of the book of evidence on each defendant.

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