Judge tells two fathers to sell their cars to avoid jail over child maintenance arrears

A judge has told two fathers to sell their cars in order to avoid going to jail over maintenance arrears for their children.

In one of the two cases at Ennis Family Law Court, Judge Patrick Durcan told the man: “If the car isn’t sold, you will be going off to prison. It won’t be Lanzarote this time.”

Judge Durcan told the man "to go downtown and buy yourself a pair of bicycle clips and a bike".

Judge Durcan made the reference to Lanzarote after the mother of the child said that the man went on a sun holiday to Lanzarote last year as the arrears continued to mount.

The man - who owes maintenance arrears of €3,422 - said that his girlfriend paid for the sun break.

Judge Durcan said that he was sentencing the man to 21 days in prison for contempt of court but that the committal warrant wouldn’t issue until April 4.

Judge Durcan has given the man until then to sell his car in order to clear the arrears.

He said: “I want the car got rid off and I want this woman paid. You have a month to get it done.”

Judge Durcan told the man that “we will be having a good Summer, you won’t want the car and a bicycle will be fine”.

In a separate case, Judge Durcan has given another father just two weeks to sell his car - or he will be going to prison.

Judge Durcan told the man: “Get this sorted - if it isn’t, you are going to jail.”

Last December following a jail threat by Judge Durcan the man produced €3,000 for the mother leaving arrears of €1,600 at that time.

Solicitor for the mother in the case, Ann Walsh, said that the man received €18,000 in a personal injury payout last April - but it was all gone by June.

The man told Judge Durcan that €5,000 of that went towards repaying a loan.

The man told Judge Durcan that he had sold his car before Christmas.

Judge Durcan then asked the man to give sworn evidence on the sale.

After getting into the witness box and taking the oath, Judge Durcan asked the man: “So you sold the car before Christmas? Who did you sell the car to?”

In response, the man hesitated and then said: “That was a lie your honour - I still have the car but it is for sale.”

Judge Durcan said that he commended the man for telling the truth and the respect that he had shown to the oath.

He said: “Now get on with it and sell the car.”

Judge Durcan asked the man: “Have you ever been in prison before?”

The man replied that he had for six months.

Judge Durcan said: “You will be going there again, so you will, if you don’t have the car sold and the arrears paid off.”

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