Father brings foster care challenge
The father of a young child has brought a High Court challenge aimed at stopping the Health Services Executive (HSE) from placing his son into foster care.
In his action the father claims the HSE is not acting in the interests of the five-year-old boy, who has been living with his grandmother, and is rushing through the transfer to the foster family.
None of the parties involved in the case can be identified by order of the Court.
The court also heard the child’s parents separated after the father allegedly carried out a serious assault on his wife that left her nearly comatose. Criminal proceedings are pending over that incident.
Today at the High Court Mr Justice George Bermingham said he was prepared to grant the father permission to bring an action against the HSE, in what the judge described as being a very difficult matter.
Leave to bring the application was granted on an ex-parte (one side only) basis. However after considering the application the Judge said that in the absence of legal representation from the HSE he was refusing a request by the father’s lawyers to place a stay on the transfer from going ahead.
The court heard that the boy, who has special needs, has lived with his paternal grandmother for the last number of years.
However the HSE fears she may leave Ireland as she is a non-national and her husband resides in their home country. As a result the HSE made a decision that the boy be placed in foster care.
Arising from that decision the boy’s father has commenced judicial review proceedings where is seeking a number of orders and declarations from the High Court aimed at quashing the HSE’s decision that the boy be fostered.
The father claims that the child could be damaged as a result of the transfer. The child is emotionally attached to his grandmother and the transfer is being rushed through against the advice of the HSE’s own principal clinical psychologist while she is on leave, he claims.
Mr Justice George Bermingham said that he was prepared to grant the boy’s father leave to challenge the HSE’s decision after holding that the low legal threshold required to allow such an action proceed had been crossed.
The judge said that in his opinion the HSE had approached the matter with the greatest sensitivity. The judge also said that he was not prepared to place a stay on the proposed transfer. Such a stay would not be appropriate he said.
Any application for a stay would have to be done on notice to the HSE. That application is expected to be made before the High Court next week.