‘It is really unfortunate’: Judge issues orders in dispute between separated parents over post-Confirmation meal

Children to have main course in section of hotel with mother’s party and dessert in another area with father’s guests

A judge has ruled that the children of an estranged couple will have part of their post-Confirmation dinner with one parent and the rest with the other in separate rooms in the same hotel.

Judge Francis Comerford told Ennis Circuit Court he was making orders concerning the celebrations as the parents could not agree. The couple share custody of the children and are separated.

He ordered that the children have the main course in one room with their mother and her guests before having dessert in another room with their father and his guests. “It is not ideal that people are coming to court when they can’t agree on matters like this,” he said.

Mairead Doyle, solicitor for the father, had proposed that the parents, children and guests all eat together at the hotel. She said her client has an application for sole custody for the children before Limerick Circuit Court. “We are proposing a joint dinner because we are trying to promote a united front with the children.”


However, Judge Comerford said he would not direct “that people stay at the same table if they can’t stay at the same table – it is really unfortunate”.

Ms Doyle told the court she had sent proposals for the Confirmation Day on April 10th to solicitors for the woman in the case and received a three page reply.

She said her client contacted the hotel and added six people to the dinner reservation that the woman initially had for the day. However, she said her client went back to the hotel “and it transpires that those six people had been taken off that table by some third party”.

Ms Doyle said the children’s mother maintained that she did not cancel the six people “but someone cancelled it”.

Seán O’Hanrahan, solicitor for the woman, said his client “really wants the children to have a great day”.

He said his client has no difficulty with her ex-husband if he wants to invite guests and pay for their meal at the hotel. “But we cannot make the dinner arrangement for him – that is something for the hotel. That is what is being asked of us and asked of you judge to you to fix his dinner arrangements.”

Mr O’Hanrahan said that he took it upon himself to visit the hotel and that the two dining areas “are less than 70 yards apart”. He asked for his client’s costs in the case, but the judge replied “not a chance”.

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan is a contributor to The Irish Times