A judge has told a father who kicked his kids’ toys on Christmas Day he has a problem that is not sufficiently under control.
At a family court sitting in Ennis, Judge Patrick Durcan granted a safety order for two years to the children’s mother and the children against the dad.
In court, the father admitted: “I do have a temper, but I manage to control it. I have a very short fuse. I go from zero to 10 in one second. When it is released, it is over and done with.”
Judge Durcan told the man he was granting the safety order to the mother which prohibits violence or threats of violence, but allows the father remain within the family home.
The judge said the man didn’t have his temper under control. “I am not forming the view that you are a bad person or a bad father, but I am forming the view that you have a problem that is not sufficiently under control.”
The husband and wife each represented themselves in court and the woman told her husband: “You frighten and scare the children and you scare me as well.”
She said: “They are only small and they will be damaged for the rest of their lives if this continues.”
On kicking the children’s toys, including on Christmas Day, the father said: “I get frustrated. I get frustrated. I continuously tell them to play with their toys in their playroom and it never happens, so I get frustrated.
“I don’t feel there should be a protection order or safety order in place. I have never threatened violence on my wife or the children. Never. I feel that I am being victimised and I don’t understand even why I am here.”
Under cross-examination from his wife, the man accepted the couple’s youngest child has said that he was scared of his father. The man said because of the boy’s young age “he is afraid of everything”.
In her evidence, the mother told the court: “My husband can be quite aggressive when he loses his temper. He can frighten myself and the children.”
She said that her youngest child has told her ‘my daddy scares me, my daddy frightens me’ adding that an older child asked ‘can we live in a different house so daddy would stop shouting at us and stop being mean to us’.
She said that when he puts their youngest child to bed “the child gets hysterical”.
In reply, the father said: “That is because the amount of comforting you give when you put him to bed. He prefers you.”
In response, the mother said: “As a parent, if my kids say that they are afraid of their father, I have to protect my children.”
In reply, the man said: “I have never struck our children.”
The woman had been granted an ex-parte protection order in the court on January 2 when the husband wasn’t in court after a flashpoint on Christmas Day at the home during which the man kicked the kids’ toys.
She said: “Since the protection order was served on him, he hasn’t lost his temper with his children and their relationship has been better.”
Asked by the judge is she afraid of her husband, the woman replied: “Yes.”
Judge Durcan told the man the ruling can be appealed to the circuit court.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved