Holiday drinking binge parents to escape charges

THE couple whose children were put into care after they drank themselves unconscious on holidays are unlikely to face child neglect charges in Portugal.

Judicial sources revealed yesterday that instead, police, hospital and social services reports are expected to be assembled and sent to social services in the North.

Family and friends have said they were shocked to hear of their activities on holidays describing them as “devoted parents”.

Hotel staff at the Aparthotel Vilamoura in the Algarve called police after Eamon McGuckin, 34, and his wife

Antoinette, 32, from Maghera, Co Derry, collapsed on Friday night.

They were rushed to a medical centre in nearby Loule while their children Adam, 1, Amy, 2, and Aaron, 6, were temporarily taken into care at the Refugio Aboim Ascensao children’s home in Faro.

The youngsters arrived at the home at 5am on Saturday and remained there until their parents came to collect them at midday that day after an on-duty public attorney ruled they should be returned to their parents.

A senior court source in Faro said the incident was probably not so serious that the McGuckins would face prosecution.

If they were living in Portugal rather than being on holiday, they might have been visited by police and social services, he said.

But as the episode appeared so far to be a one-off, they are likely to be free to return to Co Derry, the source said.

The incident happened just 70km from Praia da Luz, where one year ago Madeleine McCann went missing from her family’s holiday apartment while her parents dined nearby.

Friends and neighbours of the McGuckins in Maghera expressed their shock at the weekend’s events.

One neighbour described them as devoted parents while another said the couple’s alleged behaviour was totally out of character.

“I’ve never really seen them out socialising,” said one of the neighbours.

“They just keep themselves to themselves and look after their wee ones. They’re lovely parents and their children are always happy.”


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