THREE PRIMARY school going children at the centre of ‘flogging at home’ allegations want to return home to their mother after almost three years apart, a court has heard.

At a family law court hearing, a court appointed independent voice for the three children, a Guardian ad Litem (GAL) has told the court that the children want to return to their mother.

In September 2020, the children were removed from the care of their parents with two sisters living with one foster family and their younger brother living with a different foster carer on behalf of TUSLA, the Child and Family Agency (CFA).

The children see their mother on access visits and the GAL told the court, “They have a loving relationship with their mother. They worry about her and do need to see her to make sure that she is okay”.

The GAL stated that at a First Holy Communion for one of the children, “they were putting their own happiness to one side and looking after their mother for the day when she was upset as it was a mixed day for her understandably”.

The GAL stated that re-unification with the mother and children will take time and needs to be managed carefully.

She said, “How is she going to parent her three children she hasn’t parented for almost three years? How is she going to get to know her children again?”

Last year, the 29 year old father in the case appeared in court where he was charged with assaulting the three children, one aged three at the time, in a manner likely to cause them unnecessary suffering or injury.

The man’s court appearance followed a lengthy Garda investigation into the physical abuse allegations against the man that first came to light at a behind closed doors Family Law court hearing in July 2020

The children were then aged seven, six and three. The man is the biological father of two of the three children.

A TUSLA social worker at the Family Law Court told Judge Alec Gabbett that the allegations against the father concern “flogging in the home”.

Solicitor for TUSLA, Kevin Sherry told the court that the children’s mother has made ‘big strides’ since September 2020 “and re-unification is very much on the cards if the therapeutic intervention continues”.

Mr Sherry told the court that the CFA was seeking a 12 month extension to the interim care order to allow the therapeutic interventions to continue for the mother.

This was opposed by solicitor, Michael MacSweeney for the mother who said that a shorter extension was more appropriate “as my client believes that there has been some drift”.

The mother was in court for the hearing and Mr MacSweeney said that his client has separated from her partner and intends to issue divorce proceedings and is also adhering to all recommendations and directions of CFA.

He said, “The difficulty here is that I have no trajectory plan presented to me by the CFA that re-unification is being strongly considered”.

Judge Gabbett stated that a six month extension would be appropriate and adjourned the case to October.

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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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