A married County Clare couple ‘trapped’ in their own home have agreed court approved bans from each other’s bedrooms and bathrooms in the house.
The grandparents are married almost 40 years and in an agreement brokered by the couple’s solicitors, the husband has agreed not to enter his wife’s bedroom and the bathroom designated for her use in the house.
In return, the wife has agreed not to enter her husband’s bedroom or his designated bathroom.
The couple reached the deal after the woman decided not to proceed with a Safety Order application against her husband. In evidence securing a temporary Protection Order, the woman said that the verbal abuse from her husband has been continuing for ten years and in December he elbowed her into the face.
The woman said that she has taken overdoses in the past due to the stress from the abuse.
She told the family law court in Ennis: “Why should I have to put up with the abuse he has given me? My father slapped me with a strap and I can see the marks he gave me.”
Addressing the court, the woman’s husband said: “I regret what has happened. I really am sorry what has happened. I really can’t turn back the clock.”
He said, “She has said as much to me as I have said to her. All I want is the use of my bedroom and the use of my bathroom, up and down to the kitchen – that is all.Our marriage is completely and truly over. If she wants to have her Protection Order, I have no hesitation in letting her have it, but I want no more to do with this woman.”
Solicitor for the woman, Pamela Clancy said that the couple “are living separate and apart in the family home – this isn’t a matter where they can get on and generally get on”.
The two live in a council home and Ms Clancy said,“They are trapped in this house and things are difficult.”
Solicitor for the man, Shíofra Hassett said,“It is an incredibly sad case.”
Judge Patrick Durcan said that the woman was under the protection of the courts by virtue of the Protection Order he granted. He had earlier complimented the couple on their many years of marriage together.
He said, “It is a great achievement. Marriage isn’t an easy business as you both know, there are ups and downs and difficult days, but there are also good days.”
Judge Durcan said that it was ‘very sad’ that the two should be in such a situation.
He said, “It is not looking across a court room at each other you should be – it is looking across a fireplace watching the telly having a nice cup of tea.”
Judge Durcan urged both sides to talk outside court before proceeding with giving evidence against each other in the Safety Order application.
He said, “You are mature citizens – I would be much happier if you could resolve these issues and reach an agreement which the solicitors can put into writing.Rather than thrashing every thing out and in the witness stand, you are going to be questioned and cross questioned.
He said, “Once the show gets underway, there will be no holding back and everything is laid bare and you are going to go home today and be telling your children that ‘one said this and this one said that’ .”
The two left court and returned shortly after with the agreement not to enter each others bathrooms and bedrooms.The agreement will require some plumbing work to the home and Judge Durcan adjourned the case to February 1 to allow that work take place.