Facebook messages about paternity test ‘must stop’

A judge yesterday ordered a man to stop posting messages on Facebook about the paternity of a six month old baby girl.

At the Family Law court in Ennis yesterday, Judge Patrick Durcan ordered the Co Clare man cease all direct and indirect contact with his estranged partner who is the mother of the baby.

The two are currently embroiled in a paternity row concerning the baby and Judge Durcan has previously ordered that a paternity test be carried out and called in the gardaí to investigate claims of forgery in the row, with gardaí expected to use a hand- writing expert in their investigation.

Judge Durcan yesterday placed the man in custody for two hours after finding him in contempt of court due to his repeated interruptions of his former partner’s solicitor, Ann Walsh, and his own solicitor, Stiofán Fitzpatrick.

The man was later freed after apologising for his behaviour from the witness box. The man explained to Judge Durcan: “I spoke out of place and I apologise to the court. It is frustrating about not knowing if the child is mine or not.”

Earlier in court, Ms Walsh said the Facebook messages being posted by the man about the paternity of the baby and paternity test “are very upsetting for the mother”.

Ms Walsh said by posting about the baby’s DNA on Facebook, the man was bringing the issues about the baby’s paternity in a private family court out into the wider world.

Ms Walsh read out one message in court the man posted that read: “I have been trying for the last month for her to take the DNA test but she won’t, so the judge will have to order her to take the test later on this week in court.”

Ms Walsh said the post concludes “she says that the baby is 100% mine so why won’t she take the DNA test?”

Ms Walsh said: “This is not fair on the baby because this is her private information and it should not be posted on Facebook.”

In reply, Mr Fitzpatrick said that the mother “has herself posted on Facebook about the DNA issue going back a number of months”.

Judge Durcan adjourned the case to May 18 for the paternity test to take place, and also asked that solicitors for both parties have in court a booklet of the messages that have been publicised on Facebook.

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