Priest spearheads Gold Coast mother-baby reunion effort

A retired Irish priest is said to be working to reunite his niece with her baby after the child was found abandoned in a Surfers Paradise toilet.

The Gold Coast Bulletin reports that the former parish priest who is the uncle of 21 year old Amy Eustace, who left her little boy in a public toilet before fleeing back to Ireland, is helping the young woman's family with the ordeal.

The priest is believed to be acting as the go-between with family members and authorities and he is in charge of negotiations with health authorities in Ireland and Queensland.

The Irish Sunday World newspaper said the family, reported to be highly respected pillars of their local community, was anxious that closure be brought sooner rather than later.

There was speculation last night that Ms Eustace might be on her way back to the Gold Coast to be reunited with her son. Weekend reports said he was named Sean.

Ms Eustace is reportedly battling depression and had counselling before pleading to be reunited with her baby.

Ms Eustace left her baby boy - aged between two and four weeks - inside a cotton shopping bag in the Surfers Paradise toilet last Monday.

Only hours after dumping the baby, she flew home to Ireland.

Ms Eustace is believed to have kept the pregnancy and Australian birth a secret from her family back home in the village of Clongeen in County Wexford.

An international police hunt was launched when Gold Coast police were tipped off that the mother had returned to her home in Ireland.

Irish media reported Ms Eustace confessed to her family when footage of her leaving the toilets was broadcast on Irish television.

Her grandmother said the baby would be back with his mother within a fortnight.

"The baby's coming home to Ireland," said the grandmother, who refused to be identified.

According to the Australian Immigration Department, a baby born in Australia is not considered a citizen unless one or both of its parents are either permanent residents or Australian citizens.

The child's father has not yet been publicly identified.

Irish police said it is unlikely Ms Eustace would face charges.

Mother and son reunion likely (Gold Coast Bulletin, 12/3/07)

12 Mar 2007

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