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Judge directs that gardaí be made aware of abuse claims made against father of 11-month-old infant

The young mother made the statement when obtaining a protection order giving herself and the baby court protection.

Image: PA

A JUDGE IN a family law court has directed that gardaí be made aware of “hugely criminal” abuse allegations concerning an 11 month old baby boy.

At a behind closed doors hearing at the family law court in Ennis, Judge Patrick Durcan directed that the court registrar forward the baby’s mother’s statement to gardaí detailing her child abuse allegations against the baby’s father.

The young mother made the statement when obtaining a protection order giving herself and the baby court protection on a temporary basis pending the application for a safety order.

At the outset of the safety order application, Judge Durcan detailed the allegations made by the mother in her statement.

Commenting on the allegations, Judge Durcan said: “I am not saying that the father is guilty or not guilty – I am making no judgement. All I am saying is that allegations have been made – hugely serious allegations and if they are correct they are hugely criminal.”

The parents of the baby boy are estranged and the father has had access to the baby.

The father was contesting the safety order application and in her statement grounding her application for the safety order read out by Judge Durcan, the mother alleges that after access with her father, the baby would come back to her “with unexplained marks and bruises on his body”.

The mother said that after the baby was returned last Sunday after access “while changing his nappy, I noticed a mark or tear on his backside”.

The mother provided a photo of the alleged injury to court.

She stated: “There is a history of unexplained marks and bruises on my son after access with his father. I believe that his father is causing these bruises. 

“These marks and bruises are similar to the marks that this man inflicted on me while pregnant. I am in fear for the safety of my son and seek the protection of the court.”

After reading out the woman’s statement, Judge Durcan said: “I am directing that the registrar send a copy of this information to the gardai.”

“These are very serious allegations and such allegations are a matter for the gardaí – not for the district family law court in Ennis.”

Judge Durcan said that it was his view that no further access for the father should take place until the allegations are investigated and clarified.

In response, solicitor for the father, Pamela Clancy said: “Allegations have been made numerous times – referrals have made by the mother to Tusla and no findings are coming out of that.”

Clancy said that a judge in a family law court in a different county has ordered a report “to assess the parenting capacity of the mother  because of the repeated submission of the child for medicals”.

In response, Judge Durcan said: “I am not saying that the father is guilty or not guilty, that is not the issue. The issue is I have something before me that is very serious in relation to a child.”

Judge Durcan said that it was also open to the mother to apply to a court to end the access of the father to the baby. He added that it is now a matter for the baby’s mother to take the appropriate steps and he struck out the safety order application.

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Gordon Deegan

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