Granny of 90 grandchildren 'broken-hearted' over lack of access to two grandchildren, court hears

File photo.

A granny of 90 grandchildren has told a judge that she is broken-hearted that she hasn’t been able to see two of her grandchildren in recent months.

At the Family Law Court in Ennis, the woman told Judge Patrick Durcan that in total she has 105 grand-children and great-grandchildren made up of 90 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren.

The woman told Judge Durcan: “I have 90 grand-children - God Bless and save them.”

In reply, Judge Durcan queried: “Ninety?”

In response, the woman said: “And I have 15 great-grandchildren, God bless and save them all. I have 15 of my own children and I reared two more that had nothing to do with me because their fathers and mothers couldn’t rear them.”

The woman told Judge Durcan: “I absolutely adore all of my grandchildren.”

She was in court for a contentious access application being made by her son to see his two children.

The two are of primary school age and the woman said that she is broken-hearted not being able to see them as she helped rear them.

Her son has not met his children since last October as the mother of the children has told a social worker that if there is contact from the father there is a risk of feud violence.

Judge Durcan said that the mother has made “very dramatic and very serious statements” to a social worker stating that if there is contact with the man “it could lead to serious feuding and all kinds of terrible things”.

Judge Durcan said that he didn’t want the children exposed to anything like that.

The father told him: “There is no danger of that.”

All parties in the case are Travellers and the grandmother said that there is no feud involving her own family.

She said that the family of the mother of the two grandchildren - subject of the access application - have been feuding with another family over the past year.

Judge Durcan said that he would grant access for the children’s father to see them on a number of Saturdays later this month at a play centre in a different county.

Judge Durcan told the father and the grandmother of the children “it should be just the two of ye for the access. I don’t want a flotilla”.

Judge Durcan said that in response to the risk of violence expressed by the mother - who wasn't in court - he was making the "unusual order" of the local Gardaí in the area being made aware of the access visits.

He said: “There is a risk of violence but I have to balance that with the rights of the father to see his children.”

Judge Durcan told the grandmother that he was relying on her wisdom as a grandmother to 90 and a great-grandmother to 15 of making the access work.

Judge Durcan also appointed the woman as guardian to the two grandchildren subject of the access application.

Judge Durcan ordered that the access order also be served by a member of the Gardaí on the children’s mother and adjourned the case to April.

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