The adult children of a 90-year-old man and his wife in her early eighties who are in the throes of divorce proceedings have given undertakings to court to be civil to their father and mother.
As part of a court truce in the bitter family dispute, the adult children gave the undertakings at the Family Law Court in Ennis, after the parents also gave undertakings to be civil to the children concerned.
The parties signed the document after Judge Mary Larkin told the court that she was not inclined to make any order concerning the father’s Safety Order application against his adult daughter.
Last month, the father obtained a temporary Protection Order against his adult daughter after he told the court that she “threatened to smash my face and I am concerned about my safety”.
In his statement, the father also alleged that his daughter was “shouting at me, banging doors, calling me names and causing me much upset”.
In a separate action involving the rural family, the mother previously obtained a Protection Order against a son of the couple who farms land around the family home where the estranged parents live and where he provides support to his father.
Judge Larkin also ordered that Tusla carry out reports into the two cases, on the grounds of welfare concerns relating to alleged elder abuse, and granted supervision orders to allow Tusla staff to go into the family home.
Judge Larkin stated that it is important the parents “have a comfortable and undisturbed occupation of their own home”.
With the undertakings provided, the Protection Orders are no longer in force.
The adult children's elderly parents are entitled to live quiet and peacefully as far as they can for the rest of their days
In court, the son sat with his elderly father on one side of the courtroom with the mother sitting with her daughter on the opposite side. Both parents required assistance to enter and exit the courtroom.
Judge Larkin stated: “The adult children's elderly parents are entitled to live quiet and peacefully as far as they can for the rest of their days. I actually think it is an abuse of process to bring the parties in here and I will adjourn the case for a short time to allow the parties to try to reach agreement on an undertaking.”
When the case came before the court last month, solicitor for the son, Shiofra Hassett stated that “the parents are essentially separated and living in the same house, and they are in the throes of divorce proceedings in the circuit court”.
The father in the case is due to celebrate his 91st birthday later this year.
After a two-hour adjournment, the solicitors for the four parties arrived back into court to confirm that documents had been signed providing for the undertakings.
Solicitor for the father, Sinead Nunan stated that the undertakings involve the father and daughter to act with civility in any interaction they have with each other. Ms Nunan said the undertaking involves the daughter not to interfere in the provision of care for the father.
Solicitor for the son, Ms Shiofra Hassett stated that an undertaking is already in place in that case concerning the mother.
Solicitor for the mother, William Cahir said that his client has underlying health issues and she has a serious concern and fear in relation to Covid-19 through any contacts with her son in the home.
Mr Cahir told Judge Larkin when the case was last before court “you were very clear the NPHET guidelines don’t have any place within family law and I would agree those comments”.
Judge Larkin adjourned the cases to April.