A father who recently served time in prison has claimed his former partner had “brainwashed” their two sons into not wanting to see him.
The father told the Dublin District Family Court in Dolphin House, Temple Bar, Dublin that he wanted joint custody and guardianship for the boys so that he could go to their house “without being arrested” if their mother was drunk.
The father, who spent two months earlier this year in prison, said he also wanted to visit his sons.
“All I want to be able to do, if there’s an emergency in the house and [the mother] is drunk, I can go to the house and not get arrested,” he said. “In over a year, I haven’t seen the children. She won’t let me see them.”
Judge Gerard Furlong said that under the law the views of the two schoolboys in relation to the matters must be ascertained. He asked counsellor Mary Murtagh, who was present in court, whether she might be able to do this.
Ms Murtagh told the court she had seen one boy since 2015 and the other since 2016. She said the boys were referred to her because they were suffering from anxiety and anger issues.
“They came to me full of anxiety and worry and up to May of this year that anxiety has not gone away,” Ms Murtagh said.
She said her counselling had not been effective because “it’s been interrupted regularly by experiences of domestic violence”.
“They presented with high anxiety and fear, and huge anxiety around their dad.”
She said one of the boys was currently too traumatised to see the father, while the other boy would be open to visits with him, if an independent supervisor was present.
But the father interjected: “I can tell you exactly why they feel that way. I used to go to work and she’d be drunk when I came home. Them (sic) kids are brainwashed from her.”
Referring to the counsellor, he continued: “That lady’s not qualified because they’re going in brainwashed.”
Referring then to the mother of his children, the man said: “I have a text that says she’d rather buy drugs than shopping. She gives the kids pizza off the floor.”
Judge Furlong adjourned all matters in the case until October, and advised the father that if he had concerns about the welfare of the children, he could contact Tusla.