Three young children were found in a highly distressed state at a house party in Carrigaline where gardaí found many empty beer cans and drug paraphernalia including needles, tinfoil and burnt spoons on the floor.
The father of the three children aged from two to six was prosecuted for child neglect at Cork District Court today arising out of the investigation. He did not appear for the case against him.
Gardaí responded to a call to the house from neighbours at 3.30am who were concerned about the sound of children crying in the house.
Gardaí found the children’s father and two other men in a highly intoxicated and aggressive condition so much so that Carrigaline gardaí had to call for the back-up of colleagues from stations at Togher, Bishopstown, Gurranabraher and Anglesea Street.
The three children were taken into care by the gardaí who brought them to their mother’s home in Cork city. They were described as being happy and relieved to be brought to their mother’s house which was clean and tidy and suitable for children.
This was in marked contrast to the evidence given about the house in Carrigaline where the children and their father had not been residing. Gardaí believed that the children were brought there by their father for a house party.
A bench warrant was issued for the arrest of the 41-year-old who was convicted by Judge Con O’Leary on a charge of neglecting one of the children. The accused cannot be named as it would lead to the identification of the children.
Gardaí Colm Aherne, Philip Moore and Aisling Murphy responded to a call to the house in Carrigaline, at 3.30am on August 3, 2017.
Garda Aherne said: “Upon arrival, we could hear young children crying loudly and we could hear males shouting loudly. When I looked in the window I could see (defendant’s name) through the window. When he saw gardaí he went upstairs.”
Gardaí called to the front door and two drunken men came to the door and refused to admit gardaí. The Child Care Act had to be invoked so that gardaí could get into the house and they went upstairs to find three children in a bedroom.
“The room could be best described as squalor. There was no adequate bed clothing. There were empty cans of beer strewn around the bedroom. The defendant was intoxicated and not in a fit state to mind children. The youngest was wearing a heavily soiled nappy."
"The children were all wearing dirty clothes. They appeared uncared for. One child was sleeping with a towel as a bed sheet. The two males downstairs had signs of fighting. One had a fresh black eye. All three males became highly confrontational when told the children were going to be taken into care.”
They calmed down when gardaí from the surrounding area arrived to support the officers from Carrigaline.
When Garda Aherne said the accused had come to the house for a house party, defence solicitor Michael Quinlan challenged this and said the defendant had come there for a child’s party in the afternoon and had ended up staying in the house because someone left him down for a spin home.
Garda Philip Moore corroborated Garda Aherne’s evidence and added: “It was absolutely not a safe place for those children, aged six, four and two.”
Garda Aisling Murphy said one of the girls was half naked with a towel wrapped around her.
Judge Con O’Leary made an order prohibiting identification of the children.
The gardaí did not name them in their evidence in the case which was dealt with in an open court. During cross-examination one of them was named.
At the end of the evidence, Judge O’Leary said to Inspector Margaret Murrell that the three children had been named in the charge sheet and he asked: “What do I do with the fact that I got one name and I did not get the other names. What do I do about that?”
The inspector said there was evidence that the three children were from the same family, that they were the defendant’s children and were all returned to their mother.
The judge amended the charge sheet to refer only to the child whose name was given in evidence and he convicted the defendant of neglecting this girl. A bench warrant was issued for his arrest to be brought to court for sentencing.