TWO children in the care of the HSE have become pregnant and travelled to the UK for abortions following district court applications, the Sunday Tribune can reveal.

Between 2006 and 2008, the HSE has on two separate occasions sought permission at district court level for two children that have become pregnant in its care to travel for terminations of pregnancy. In both cases, permission was granted.

In one instance, the child was "at serious risk of suicide" according to information released to the Sunday Tribune under the Freedom of Information Act.

"Two applications were made to the district court by the HSE for permission for a child in its care to travel outside the jurisdiction for a termination of pregnancy. The grounds of the first application were that, following clinical examination, the child was deemed to be at serious risk of suicide. The application was granted," according to the HSE response. "In the case of the second, the outcome of the application was that the mother travelled to the UK for a termination. The reason for the application cannot be disclosed as the court requested an order of confidentiality to be afforded to all parties concerned."

If a child in state care has been raped or is suicidal the HSE is entitled to apply to the courts to get permission for the minor to have the pregnancy terminated abroad.

Last year, a potentially suicidal pregnant 14-year-old in the care of the HSE in Dublin was due to be the subject of a court application to allow her to travel outside Ireland to have an abortion.

However, her parents were opposed to the abortion and the teenager changed her mind at the eleventh hour and decided to proceed with the pregnancy.

In May 2007, the High Court ruled that there was nothing to prevent a 17-year-old girl in the care of the HSE from travelling abroad for an abortion.