A nine-year-old boy child has been taken into care over concerns that his mother could not look after him and amid allegations his father let him watch pornography.

Letterkenny Court.

Letterkenny Court.

The application for an emergency care order was made amid concern for the child’s health and safety after visits to the house where he stayed with his mother, who has addiction problems.

Letterkenny District Court heard that social services have not investigated claims that the father inappropriately touched the child more than two years ago.

There were also claims that his father allowed him to watch pornography and that he was exposed to his father’s inappropriate sexual behaviour with partners.

A social worker said the allegation had been made over two years ago and the delay in the investigation was due to a lack of resources.

An application to take the child into care was made after a social worker raised concern over his mother’s ability to look after him.

A social worker told the hearing at Letterkenny District Court that visits found the house where the boy lived with his mother was in “a bad state”. During one visit the mother appeared intoxicated, her speech was slurred, she was stumbling around and had needle marks on her left arm.

On another occasion the boy had got himself ready for school but his mother had told him that he wasn’t going, the court heard.

During visits by social workers the house was found to be cold, cigarettes butts were on the floor and the mother was found to be incoherent. Bags of empty beer cans were found on top of the rubbish.

A solicitor for the child’s father argued for care to be granted to the boys’ paternal grandparents, who had been granted access two days a week, as an alternative to being placed in foster care. The solicitor said the father, who lives with his parents, would vow to stay away from the child if this happened.

The solicitor argued that the child was “seriously traumatised” and would be better off with the stability that the care of his grandparents would offer him.

He said the allegation has been hanging over child’s father for some time and “nothing has been done to investigate the allegation”.

A solicitor for the Child and Family Agency told the court the boy “is caught in the middle and seeks love and attention from both parent and both sets of grandparents”.

The Child and Family Agency opposed granting care to the grandparents. The social worker said there were concerns that comments about his mother from his paternal grandparents were having a negative effect on him.

He said that during a two-week stay with his grandparents, they had proved not able to look after his hygiene, homework had been incomplete and he had not been given medication on time.

In separate evidence, a social care worker said the boy had said his grandparents had encouraged him to “act up” when he was staying with his mother.

The social care worker said the grandparents had previously stated they wanted to end the access arrangement.

She said the boy needed to be in an environment where “there is no history being thrown up in his face”. He needs psychiatric help, yet no psychiatrist will deal with him while he is in an environment of negativity, she said.

She said the boy feared that if he said anything negative about his father the grandparents “would start on him”.

Judge Paul Kelly said he was satisfied that there was a risk to the boy if he stayed where he is and it was evident the paternal grandparents are not in a position to care for him.

Granting the order he adjourned the case until February 16th.

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