Health Service Executive -v- ME & anor (Moving Jurisdictions)

Case OutcomeApproved
CourtDistrict Court
Docket NumberN/A
JudgeHorgan P.
Judgment Date30 Jan 2013
Neutral Citation[2013] IEDC 3
[2013] IEDC 3
AN CHUIRT DUICHE THE DISTRICT COURT
HEALTH SERVICE EXECUTIVE
APPLICANT
-AND-
ME & DQ
RESPONDENTS
CHILD CARE ACT, 1991— SECTION 17(1)
IN THE MATTER OF CHILD 1, CHILD 2, AND CHILD 3
30 January 2013
1. There are t hree Applications before t he Court.
2. The f irst is an application by t he HSE for the extension of an Interim Care Order in respect of the t hree children.
3. The remaining two are related private law applicat ions by the children’s grandmother, the first named respondent: firstly, for an
Order granting her sole custody of the c hildren; and sec ondly, permitting her to remove the c hildren to live with her in Country 1
which is the c ountry of her habitual residence since 2003.
4. The c hildren’s mother died on in July 2012. She was not married to the fat her of t he children.
5. The se cond named respondent is the fat her of t he three c hildren who are t he subject matter of these proceedings. His relationship
with their mother was tumultuous.
6. Both father and grandmother have being appointed joint guardianship of all three dependent children by conse nt by Order dated 31
July 2012. The fat her and grandmother enjoy a harmonious relationship and he is pleased that his children will enjoy a good life and
opportunities in Country 1 being raised as a sibling group as opposed to their c urrent position whereby each c hild lives in separate
foster plac ements under an Interim HSE Order. The father c onsents t o both private law Orders being sought by their Grandmother
provided that he has an enforceable Order for Ac cess.
7. Both private law applicat ions are broadly supported by the HSE, onc e cert ain assurances are provided by t he grandmother
conc erning the welfare of t he children. Both applications are also supported by the c hildren’s Guardian Ad Litem (“GAL”), again, once
certain assuranc es are given by t he grandmother.
8. There is a f ourth child, hereafter referred to as Child 4, who is not a party to t his application. Child 4 is also in HSE care since 28
May 2012. Child 4 is the subject matter of a separat e cust ody applicat ion by the Grandmother and a related a pplication to move
away. Child 4’s father opposes both applications. Proc eedings in respect of this c hild have not been c onsolidated with the c urrent set
of proceedings and are t herefore not bef ore the Court at this time.
9. The applicant grandmother and the father of Child 4 are joint guardians of Child 4 by virtue of an Order under sect ion 8 of the
Guardianship of Infants Ac t 1964 as amended dated 21 November 2012.
10. Child 4 was the subject matter of a Child Protection Plan following birth. The mother (dece ased) and Child 4’s father agreed to
reside with Child 4’s father’s parents and avail of intense HSE support and monitoring which fac ilitated Child 4 remaining in their joint
care. Unfortunat ely, this Child Protect ion Plan broke down on 28 May 2012 and Child 4 was rec eived into t he Emergency Care of the
HSE under section 13 of t he 1991 Act.
11. On 16 July 2012, the children’s mother suffered ac ute collapse. Both methadone and prescribed medication was f ound in her
system. She died on 22 July 2012. The c ircumstances of her demise have c aused friction between t he grandmother and Child 4’s
father and his extended f amily. This is relevant t o the current applications bef ore the Court insofar as sibling acc ess is concerned.
12. The t hree children, the subject matter of t his application, had come into t he care of the HSE on three oc casions between
October 2010 and June 2011 due to maternal alcohol misuse and/or inability to cope for a variety of reasons resulting in child neglect.
The HSE’s plan initially was for family reunification with t he mother. However despite t he mother’s love for her children and her clear
desire for family reunification with t hem, it was not possible for her to ac hieve reunification due to o n-going conce rns around her
lifestyle. The children exhibited behaviours assoc iated with t heir experience of instability and inconsist encies. Child 1 presents with
behaviours associated with att achment problems.
13. This is a t ragic and extremely difficult case notwithsta nding the apparent level of harmony referred to betwee n the parties t o
these proc eedings.
14. I am satisfied that t he private law a pplications are properly before the Court and all parties c onsent to the admission of Court
Reports from the Psychologist and Mart e Meo Therapist without further proof and f ully accept the content of same.
15. I have heard the ev idence of t he following:
(a) the Soc ial Work Team Leader;
(b) the applicant ’s son;
(c) t he applicant’s brother;
(d) the Ass igned Social Worker to the t hree children;

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