*The removal defied a High Court order. 

A 48 year old father has signed a plea of guilty to charges of taking his two sons, aged six and eight out of the State last year in defiance of a High Court order.

At Gort District Court on Thursday, the man signed a plea of guilty to two offences contrary to Section 16 of the Non-Fatal Offences against the Person Act concerning the unauthorised removal by him of his two children out of the State in February of last year.

The parents in the case are estranged with the mother living here with the couple’s two boys and their father living in the UK.

During an access visit in early February of last year, the father collected the boys from their primary school.

However, after that he brought the children to Shannon Airport and the three boarded a flight to London Heathrow.

The removal of the two boys was in defiance of a court order made at the High Court on December 14th 2021, contrary to Section 16 of the Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act which deals with alleged child abductions by parents.

After the man’s signed plea of guilt was entered into court and which will be affirmed before Galway Circuit Court next Tuesday, Judge Alec Gabbett said, “These are situations where parents take the law into their own hands and they don’t realise the ramifications of taking a child out of a country which is extremely serious”.

Judge Gabbett said that “it is what it is unfortunately” but said that the father “has dealt with in a very sensible way”.

In evidence, Det Garda John Keating said that after the man brought his two sons to London, local Gardaí alerted their UK counterparts though Interpol and UK police removed the two sons from their father’s care at 4.30am in the morning after they were brought to the UK.

The children’s mother had travelled to the UK and was re-united with her children and the three then returned to Ireland. The two boys continue to reside with their mother here.

Det John Keating said that the boy’s father met with him last October by arrangement in connection with the case and has again returned from the UK to attend Gort District Court today.

Det Keating said that the bail conditions for the accused require the man not go near the primary school that his sons attend.

Det Keating said that the accused has cooperated at all times and has been quite courteous.

The man is to have supervised access with his children while in Ireland. Solicitor, Colman Sherry for the accused said that it is his client’s hope that the case can be dealt with at Galway Circuit Court next Tuesday.

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If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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