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updated: 10/23/2013 7:15 PM

Ireland returns 2 blond children to Gypsy parents

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  • Christos Salis, 39, right, and his companion Eleftheria Dimopoulou, 40, pose with the little girl only known as "Maria" in the Larisa regional police headquarters, Greece.

      Christos Salis, 39, right, and his companion Eleftheria Dimopoulou, 40, pose with the little girl only known as "Maria" in the Larisa regional police headquarters, Greece.
    Associated Press

 
Associated Press

DUBLIN -- Ireland's justice minister says two children temporarily taken by police from their Gypsy parents have been returned to their families after DNA tests determined that the children were rightfully theirs.

Alan Shatter said Wednesday he had ordered the police commander to produce a report into why officers felt it necessary to take the children -- a 2-year-old boy and a 7-year-old girl -- from their families.

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In both cases, police suspected that the children might be victims of abductions because they were blond-haired and blue-eyed, unlike the rest of their immediate relatives.

Irish police were responding to public tipoffs fueled by media coverage of an alleged child-abduction case in Greece involving a blond-haired girl and a Gypsy, or Roma, family.

Human rights groups in Ireland have accused police of racism.

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