A judge has approved an order removing three children from the care of their parents after hearing allegations that they were stripped and flogged by their father.
Judge Mary Larkin granted a 28 day Interim Care Order to Tusla during a sitting of the Family Law Court in Ennis on Monday. The address of their new home is not being made known to the parents by court order.
A childcare support co-ordinator at a local refuge told the court that one of the children, a six-year-old boy, told her ‘my dad flogs me with a wire and I have to take my trousers off and it still hurts’.
The court also heard an allegation that the man beat a younger child with a shoe, leaving bruises and marks.
Judge Larkin said she had heard “the most extraordinary allegations of serious physical abuse against three small children” by the man but could not say “whether it is true or false at this stage”.
The mother of the three children gave sworn evidence in court in July of the alleged flogging as she secured a Protection Order against her husband, who is father to two of the children.
However, the woman on Monday told Judge Larkin that what she stated in July and what the children told social workers concerning the abuse was “all lies”.
“I made up some stuff against my husband,” she said. “I want my family and my children back to me. I don’t want them to be taken into care.”
Kevin Sherry, solicitor for Tusla, said the claim that everything previously stated was untrue “is not in any way believable”.
Tusla sought the Interim Care Order after the mother brought the children to the father’s new address in breach of a safety plan put in place by the agency.
Gardaí and social workers removed the children from there and brought them to the home of one of their mother’s relatives, but that placement was no longer available, meaning the care order was needed.
The woman and her children entered a refuge in June and a support worker told the court that the six-year-old boy said his father had previously punched him in the head, kicked him in the stomach and beat him with a pipe used to hold up the hangers in a wardrobe. He said he did not want to go back to his father.
The two children interviewed by Tusla also alleged that they saw the man slap and beat their mother.
Judge Larkin told the father that he perhaps should not give evidence as he could face assault causing harm charges in the criminal court. However, the man said “everything they said about me is all lies from the beginning”.
“I would never hurt my children,” he said.
Asked why his wife would come into court and say he beat her and the children, the man said it was down to a misunderstanding around money.
Two Tusla social workers told Judge Larkin that the allegations made by the children are credible. One stated that the children’s mother had said she used make-up to cover the children’s bruises before they went to school.
The social worker stated that when she was worried about the mother, she asked if her husband had threatened her.
The mother said he had not, the social worker said.