The Irish Times
A man seeking a protection order against his former partner, a woman seeking one against her’s, and a child unable to visit grandparents in their own home because of the “nefarious intentions” of a third party, were among cases at the Dublin Circuit Family Court yesterday.
Last week, legislation came into force which allows limited reporting of childcare and family law cases for the first time.
In one case before Judge Terence O’Sullivan a man sought a safety order against his former partner, saying he was being intimidated, bullied and threatened by her.
On one occasion when he picked up his son, she “attacked” him from behind. On another, she jumped out of a car and he felt “threatened by her demeanour”. She had put posts about him on Facebook and his email account had been tampered with.
The woman denied the allegations and said she had obtained a protection order against her ex-partner last November.
The judge asked the man if his ex-partner had been “waiting with a crowbar” or “to hit or attack him” on access visits. The man accepted that, since November, there had been no aggressive interactions between them. The judge did not grant the safety order, but instead accepted an undertaking from the woman that she would not use violence, threaten or frighten her ex-partner.
In a separate case, the judge granted a safety order against a man after his former partner claimed he “put his fist” to her face and said he’d take the children. On another occasion he wedged his foot in the door, pushed his way into the house and said he would get access to his children “if he had to tie” her up, she said. The man denied the allegations, including the attempted punch, although he told the judge: “I think she wanted me to.”
He said she had come to the house and banged on the windows and doors, frightening the children. The court was told there was now an agreement to collect and drop the children at a neutral venue.
Judge O’Sullivan granted the safety order, saying the woman’s evidence was compelling while the man’s “didn’t really add up”.
In another case, a father sought to lift a condition of access that meant he could not bring his child to his parents’ house for visits.
The grandparents’ home had been under threat from individuals to whom the father, who’d had a drug problem in the past, owed money, the court was told. The judge said the mother’s concerns were reasonable, given that third parties involved had “nefarious intentions”. He would not lift the condition unless he heard from gardaí there was no longer a security threat.
In a separate case, the judge ordered the Child and Family Agency should produce a report on a six-year-old child to ensure her welfare after a mother made allegations about a junior-school relative.
Counsel for the mother said an unsavoury incident had occurred “of a sexual nature” between the child and a young relative while the child was with her father. Her daughter was exhibiting signs of “stress, concern and anxiety”, the court was told.
The judge said it could be a case of “hyper-vigilance” on the mother’s part, but if the child was distressed he wanted to know why. He adjourned the case pending results from the report.