A social worker has told a court that she came across two parents passed out on the couch in the sitting room with two children aged three and six unattended nearby in the home.
At a special sitting of the Ennis Family Law court where Judge Patrick Durcan granted an emergency care order to TUSLA the Child and Family Agency (CFA) for the girl and the boy, the social worker said that the children told her that they had tried to wake the parents without success.
The social worker called to the home last week at 10.45am on a school day and she said that the children had to make their own breakfast when they couldn’t wake up the two.
The social worker was giving evidence on behalf of TUSLA the Child and Family Agency (CA) for an emergency care order for the two children.
The social worker said that she asked the six-year-old girl why she wasn’t at school and the girl said that “Mommy didn’t wake up to bring me to school”.
The social worker said that the daughter did say that her mother did wake up for a short time but was very dizzy.
The schoolgirl said that when her mother wasn’t able to make three cereals for breakfast, she made one cereal for herself and went back to sleep.
The social worker - who was making a scheduled call to the home - said that after some effort she was able to wake up the parents but they became quite towards aggressive towards each other and towards her.
She told the court: “When I felt that I was unable to calm the situation, I sought the help of the Gardaí.”
The social worker said the parents continued to fight with each other and the six-year-old girl covered her ears “and I brought her over towards me for some comfort and the Gardaí arrived”.
A Garda witness said that four Gardaí were running around trying to separate the kids from the parents. She said that the children were very distressed.
The female Garda told the court: “I decided that it was best to take the children out of there for their safety and well being.”
The Garda told the court that the parents were under the influence of some intoxicant and the father told the court that he had taken prescription drug Xanax.
The Garda told the court that after the father was told that Gardaí were invoking special powers under the Childcare Act and bringing the children into care, the father smashed up the house.
The father told the court that he is ‘heartbroken’ over what has happened. He said that he had a relapse. He said: “I am sorry and I am on track again.”
The mother told the court: “I just want my children home.”
Judge Patrick Durcan said that he was granting an emergency care order to TUSLA and adjourned the case to Ennis District Court on Thursday.
He told the parents: “This is a breathing period - you both need a solicitor and you need that urgently."
After Judge Durcan told the parents that they will be able to have access to the children, the father cried with relief.
Judge Durcan said: “Stop crying for a moment, the important thing is that you get a solicitor.”