McF. v G. and G

JudgeMr. Justice McWilliam
Judgment Date01 January 1983
Neutral Citation1982 WJSC-HC 2344
Docket Number1008 Sp./80
CourtHigh Court
Date01 January 1983

1982 WJSC-HC 2344


1008 Sp./80



Judgment delivered by Mr. Justice McWilliamon the 31st day of July, 1981.


The Plaintiff seeks an order for the return of her son, A., who was born on 16th May, 1979, and has been living with G. and G., who are husband and wife, since August, 1979. A. is the second child of the Plaintiff. Her first child was born in 1975, when the Plaintiff was nineteen years old, and was placed for adoption and adopted. The Plaintiff was married on 11th August, 1980, in America. On 9th September, 1980, she gave birth to her third child who is, she states, a full sister of A. Her husband is not the father of any of her children.


The Plaintiff's father died when she was fifteen yearns old. She continued to live with her mother and two younger sistersbut she did not have a good relationship with her mother who strongly disapproved of her first pregnancy and said the Plaintiff would have to leave home if she kept the first child. The Plaintiff says that this is why she consented to the adoption of her first child although she wanted to keep it.


The Plaintiff appears to have had a number of jobs after the birth of her first child and one of these involved looking after children. At this time she was living at home. later she took a job in a cafe and took an interest in the proprietor's children. The evidence is that she is good with children. At the time of her second pregnancy she was living in a flat and had had a problem with drink for some time.


Apparently the Plaintiff got in touch with Cura when she was about seven months pregnant. Cura put her in touch with a social worker and it was arranged that she should enter the Sacred Heart Home in Cork. The social worker brought her to the bus for Cork on 30th March and she was admitted to the Sacred Heart Home on the same day. She stayed there until 16th May when she was sent to hospital for the birth of A. butreturned to the Home on the following day. From this point on there is a considerable conflict of evidence between the evidence of the social worker and the sisters at the Home and that of the Plaintiff.


The Plaintiff maintains that, at all stages, she wished to keep her child but some of her evidence as to this is not acceptable. The social worker says that the Plaintiff told her when she was going to Cork that she intended to place the child.


Two days after the birth of her child the Plaintiff tried to leave the Home unobtrusively and, although one of the sisters tried to persuade her to stay as she was not medically fit, she insisted on leaving and, at the request of the sisters, signed a form which stated that she was discharging herself against medical advice. She stated that she wanted to go home to tell her mother about the baby and then see if she could keep it. It is clear that, at this stage, she was considering keeping the baby. When she came back in a couple of days she said she had not told her mother and could notkeep the baby. She then discussed adoption and asked for the form. The sister told her it was too soon for this and did not produce the form. The form consenting to placement for adoption is dated 27th May, 1979, and I am satisfied that it was signed on 27th May. The Plaintiff, however, maintains that the form she signed when leaving to go home on 19th May was the form consenting to placement for adoption and that there was pressure put upon her to sign it. I have no doubt but that there was pressure put on her to sign the form acknowledging that she was discharging herself against medical advice, but this form has been produced and, to my mind, there can be no question about this sequence of events. While away, the Plaihtiff had gone to see a friend in a flat adjoining the one she had had and stayed there for a couple of days and was disappointed to find that her own flat was no longer available forher.


After her return to the Home, the Plaintiff took full charge of A. and it was christened on 23rd May. On 27th May she said she would be going home soon and asked for the form tosign. I am satisfied that this was fully explained to her and that she fully understood the position when she signed it. It was understood that she would return in about six weeks or so to discuss the question of adoption as it is not the practice of the sisters to place a baby until there has been a further discussion about it. The Plaintiff did not return to the Home in six weeks or communicate in any way with the sisters and the sisters got in touch with the social worker in July to try to trace her. The social worker got a message to the Plaintiff through a cousin of the Plaintiff and the Plaintiff telephoned and said she wanted the child placed and asked for a photograph of the child. The Plaintiff denies that she phoned, that she agreed to the child being placed or that she asked for a photograph. The photograph was seni but the Plaintiff says she had not asked the sisters for it. After this, the Plaintiff made no further contact with the social worker, the Home or her child until she was located with difficulty in the following April by the social worker who had been sent forms from the Home consenting toadoption.


The Plaintiff appears to have taken various jobs in different towns after finally leaving the Home and states that her drink problem had increased. She attended meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous and was there sponsored by her prospective...

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