A JUDGE has called on Gardai to interview a father accused of sexually abusing his daughter “as a matter of urgency”.
At the Family Law Court, Judge Mary Larkin said, “I hate to say it but if the man went down to Supermacs and stole a burger he would probably be interviewed within the week”.
Judge Larkin made her comment after solicitor, Pamela Clancy for the man said that it may be a number of months before Gardai interview her client on the matter.
Ms Clancy said that there was a complaint made against the man to TUSLA of sexual abuse of his child two weeks after a circuit court judge struck out a family law appeal by the child’s mother.
Ms Clancy said that an independent child expert last year recommended in a report that the father should have sole custody of his daughter.
The estranged couple are currently going divorce proceedings and on the need by Gardai to interview the man as a matter of urgency, Judge Larkin said, “you can’t leave someone out there being accused and not being aware of what he is accused of – when it is his own child.”
Judge Larkin said that “the lives of these people are to be held in abeyance while the powers that be take their time in doing their job”.
A social worker for TUSLA told Judge Larkin that she could not detail the specifics concerning the child sex allegation as Gardai investigating have asked TUSLA not to disclose any specifics.
Solicitor for TUSLA, the Child & Family Agency (CFA), Kevin Sherry said that his clients are anxious not to undermine any Garda investigation.
Ms Clancy said that her client didn’t see his child for six weeks after the allegation was made but that access has now resumed and the child is subject to an interim TUSLA Safety Plan.
Judge Larkin said that the mother in the case had previously alleged that her ex-partner had given their daughter a long lingering kiss on the mouth at an access.
Judge Larkin said that she concluded that this did not happen. Judge Larkin told the court, “I am extremely concerned about these new allegations and I have concerns about the credibility of some of the parties and I don’t say that lightly.”
The TUSLA social worker said that the child in the case had “made clear and concerning allegations” to TUSLA staff. The social worker said that she has not witnessed the child show any fear towards her father.
Judge Larkin said that the access arrangements for the father – which take place with the father’s girlfriend in attendance – are to remain in place and adjourned the case to next month.