IEDC 2
AN CHUIRT DUICHE THE DISTRICT COURT
HEALTH SERVICE EXECUTIVE
DC & LS
CHILD CARE ACT, 1991— SECTION 47
IN THE MATTER OF CHILD 1 AND CHILD
25 September 2008
1. This matter c ame on for hearing on Friday 5 September 2008 in the 10:30 List, which is a list usually devoted t o short interlocutory
applications which c an be dealt with quickly. The matte r presented the Court with enormous complexity, the magnitude of which
ought to hav e been signalled to the Court prior to it being expected to deal with it. Fortunately, t he case which wa s at hearing had
conc luded the day prior and this Court was a ble to fac ilitate t he Application.
2. This is an Applicat
ion by the HSE pursuant to s
ection 47 of
the Child Care Act
1991, seeking to place t
he children the subject
the Interim Care Orders, outside t his jurisdiction. The Applicat ion was cont ested by t he respondent parents. The HSE c alled their
Social Worker as a witness for their application and the respondents cont esting the Applicat ion also gave evidenc e.
3. This matter arises from the absenc es of these c hildren at their place of schooling. On 22 May 2008, the National Educat ional
Welfare Board faxed the Soc ial Work Department advising that Child 2, aged 9 years, had not returned to school since 7 January
2008. This triggered an investigation which resulted in an Applicat ion for an Emergency Care Order on 6 June 2008. The Social
Worker’s report set s out in detail the circ umstanc es surrounding this c ase which I can say is very tragic indeed. T he paternal aunt
(“Aunt”) feat ures from the very outset in this c ase, in fact, t he Educational Welfare Officer faxed t he HSE on 3 June 2008, and
expressed Aunt’s conc erns to t hem. It is not c lear how Aunt bec ame involved in this case prior to t he Emergency Care Order
4. The matter next came before this Court on 13 June 2008. T he Court, having considered the Social Work Court Report dated 12
June 2008, granted an Interim Car
e Order pursuant to sec tion 17 of the Child Care Act
1991. One point which should be made is that
on page two of the s aid Report, it stat es that “mother stated t hat she would be ‘clean’ within two we eks and able to parent her
children after that time. It appeared that mother lacked insight into the reality of the t ime it would take to rec over from a serious and
enduring heroin and coc aine addiction.” However, w ithout medical or professional help or intervention both respondents tac kled their
addiction over t he summer months and have not since July taken drugs. The Court ac knowledges this monumental step t aken by the
5. Interim Care Orders have routinely been applied for and granted by t his Court. In Social Work Report dated 5 August 2008, at page
four, it is sta ted that :
“it is considered nec essary for the HSE at this point t o make formal medium – long term plans for Child 1’s and Child
2’s care in order to ensure t he cont inued promotion of their aca demic, soc ial and emotional needs whilst
endeavouring to maintain the children in the safe c are of t heir family.”
6. To dat e, I have not seen, nor has e vidence been given t o this Court in respect of the aca demic needs or requirements of thes e
children. Up to and including this Report, I can understand t he HSE’s approach to this case but the inattentive a nd indifferent
participation of t he respondents up t o the end of August does not sanction the HSE to depart from the norms in dealing with this
matter. Firstly, a plan must be a plan and sec ondly it must spec ifically take into a cco unt the needs and requirements of t he children.
Such a plan has not been devised t o date.
7. In determining this Application, t hat is an Application t o locat e the c hildren in a foreign jurisdiction, the Court has carefully
considered all the evidenc e in this matter but befo re making such an Order the Court must c omply with t he basic minimum criteria laid
down by the
e Court in the c ase of Western Health Board v KM  2 IR 493
the Court should weigh all
relevant fac tors including:
(i) The c onstitutional rights both of the c hild and of his/her parents;
(ii) The parameters of law regarding children in the jurisdiction in which it was proposed the child should live. For
example, did the principle that the welfare of the c hild was paramount apply? Were t he normal principles of the
comity of c ourts ac cepted? Was it likely that the orders of t he Irish court would be recognised and enf orced?
(iii) Was the co untry conc erned a signatory to t he Hague and/or Luxembourg Conventions on Child Abduction?
(iv) Was there a lready in place a syst em of co-ope ration between t he child care aut horities in the proposed
jurisdict ion and the health boards in their role as c hild care authorities in this jurisdiction or could such a system
readily be established?
(v) If the child was placed abroad, would acc ess to t he child by the natural parent or parents be a practic al
possibility in t erms both of distance and of expense?
(vi) Was there a reasonable possibility of using either undertakings or mirror orders to make the position of t he child
and of the relevant health board more secure?
8. The HSE place great store upon t he Soc ial Work Report dated 2 September 2008, grounding this Application. At page two of this
Report, out of t he blue comes the state ment t hat “exploring the options for the children’s care, all were in agreement that Aunt and