Woman secures protection order against partner who allegedly put shotgun to her head

Woman alleged her former partner frequently assaulted and abused her for more than a decade

A woman who claimed her former partner frequently assaulted and abused her for more than a decade, including putting a shotgun to her head and trying to strangle her, has secured a protection order.

Her partner left their home a few days ago after she told him she wanted him to go “because she could not take it any more”, the woman told Dublin District family court.

She endured years of violence and abuse and was frequently hit by the man, with whom she has children, she said. He had punched and kicked her, threatened to kill her and threatened to kill himself, she said.

He had access to firearms for a time due to his employment and put a shotgun to her head on one occasion, she said. He tried to strangle her a few times, she said.


“When you’re together so long, you get desensitised, it becomes normal, there was a lot of gaslighting, mental torture.”

Judge Mark O’Connell granted her ex parte (one side only represented) application for a protection order.

Another woman who said she is in fear of her husband and alleged he was violent to her during their relationship over some four decades, including when she was pregnant, wept after obtaining a barring order.

“All I want is to be left alone, not to be afraid,” the woman said in her evidence. She said they had in effect had no relationship for years, there were constant arguments and some violent behaviour, including during her first pregnancy, and she wants to live her life.

The man, in his evidence, said he is homeless since an interim barring order required him to leave the family home, is unwell and has “nowhere to go”. He said he had been violent “two or three times” during their relationship but disputed several of the woman’s claims, including that he recently threatened to have the family dog put down and tried to strangle a pet bird.

Having heard evidence from both, Judge O’Connell said it was “manifestly clear” the relationship between the parties had broken down irretrievably and had been in “a dysfunctional state” for some 15 years.

He said he accepted the woman’s evidence and was granting a barring order for the maximum of three years. Representing himself, the man said he would appeal the order.

In another case, a tearful woman secured a protection order, ex parte, against her partner of several years.

She told the judge, just before coming to court, she went to her doctor because she feared her nose was broken after an assault earlier this week. Her nose was broken in an earlier assault and she secured a safety order after that, she said.

Gardaí convinced her to go to court after she reported the more recent assault but she feared, dependent on her partner’s response to the order, it “would be for nothing”. The man had told her he would “break my jaw” and thinks making such a threat is “nothing”, she said.

Judge O’Connell told her it was “very foolish” of the man to think that, because she could go straight to the gardaí. The protection order would restrain the man using or threatening to use violence against her and any breach of it would be an offence that she could report to the police, he said.

The woman said that is what she wanted. She then asked: “But I can still be with him if he’s nice?” The judge said he could not give advice but suggested she ensure the order had been served by gardaí on the man before she returned to their home.

A mother and daughter obtained ex parte orders against the mother’s ex-partner after telling the judge he was refusing to leave their home, which is in the mother’s name.

The mother said the man has a problem with alcohol and is abusive to her and her daughter.

She said her relationship with the man broke up last month but he refused to leave her home. They are in separate rooms but he appears to believe their relationship might recover, she said.

He is aggressive to her daily, calls her “bad” and a “b*tch”, screams and shouts at her, and was violent to her the previous day, she said. Gardaí were called but they did not come, she said.

The man refused to leave, saying she must go, not him, she said.The judge granted an interim barring order requiring the man to leave the property on Friday.

The daughter, who got a protection order, said the man screams at and is very abusive towards her, her brother, and their mother.

“Yesterday we had to sit in my room because he was drunk. He gets drunk and blacks out, he might wake then at 4am and wake us all up. It happens every few days, the past few have been really bad.”

Mary Carolan

Mary Carolan

Mary Carolan is the Legal Affairs Correspondent of the Irish Times