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Irish authorities said Wednesday that two blonde children taken from Roma families were later returned to them after tests confirmed their biological links.
A seven-year-old girl and a two-year-old boy were each removed from their families in Ireland this week following public tip-offs, sparking warnings about racial profiling following the case of a blonde girl found in a Roma camp in Greece who was unrelated to the people she was living with.
Police said the girl and boy were both returned to their Roma families in Ireland after "confirmation of their established biological identities." The media said both moves followed DNA testing.
Police said they take "extremely serious all reports received from members of the public concerning child welfare issues" and that its policy regarding "this sensitive and challenging area" was under constant review.
Roma communities in different countries are in the spotlight after the discovery last week of the girl in a Roma camp in Greece, known as Maria and dubbed the "blonde angel" by Greek media.
Ireland's Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence warned against any unfair targeting of the Roma community.
"People should of course report to the authorities any reasonable concerns which they have about the safety of children," said Alan Shatter.
"However...it is important that no group or minority community is singled out for unwarranted attention, or, indeed, suspicion in relation to child protection issues."
The two-year-old boy was taken from a family in Athlone in the Irish midlands on Tuesday following an investigation and placed in the care of the health service under the Child Care Act, a police spokesman told AFP.
The child was returned on Wednesday morning, the spokesman added.
The boy's father, speaking in broken English, said his son has blonde hair and blue eyes, but that the boy's mother and great-grandfather have the same coloring.
"My wife, my grandfather is the same thing, and they (the police) tell me, 'I know that but people will not believe that,' and I said you can take my blood," the man told RTE.
The man said he spent a number of hours with police, before he agreed to allow his child to be taken into care overnight pending the result of a DNA test.
On Wednesday morning, the man collected his son from health services.
"He tell me no worry you can take your kid back because I know it is your kid," the man told RTE.
Warnings of a 'witch-hunt'
In the earlier incident, police removed a seven-year-old girl from a Roma family in Dublin over concerns that she did not look like her parents and they could not prove her identity, according to media reports.
A statement issued by Kevin Tunney Solicitors on behalf of the girl's family said they were "absolutely delighted" that their daughter was coming home but were angry that she was taken in the first place.
"Her removal has been a cause of huge upset to her parents, her brothers and sisters, and the young girl herself," the statement read.
"They do not believe this would have happened simply because one child of a family looks different from her brothers and sisters except for the fact that they are members of the Roma community," added the family, who are continuing to take legal advice.
According to media reports, the parents produced a birth certificate and a passport for their daughter, but the documents failed to satisfy police.
"I don't know why she was taken," the girl's 21-year-old sister told the Irish Independent newspaper.
She said the family had come from Romania in 2001, but had lived in Dublin since 2009.
"My little brother also has blonde hair and blue eyes," the woman added.
Due to strong child protection laws in Ireland, authorities are unable to publicly reveal details on individual cases, and neither the child nor her family can be named.
The cases come after Greek authorities sought Interpol's help to identify the young blonde girl found in a Roma camp in Greece last week.
The couple she was living with have been placed in pre-trial detention for allegedly abducting her.
Pavee Point, a charity that represents the traveller and Roma community in Ireland, warned against "witch-hunts" targeting the Roma and traveller communities.
"Actions by the state need to be evidence based and due process needs to be accorded to all communities living in Ireland," it said in a statement.