A man accused of abusing his niece and nephews told gardaí he was sickened by the allegations and that all he ever did was look after the children and feed them, a trial of six people has heard.
At the end of a number of Garda interviews following his arrest in 2018, the man told gardaí: “I’m not guilty, that’s all I can say...All I can say is my blood is bubbling.”
The man (49) repeatedly denied all of the abuse allegations put to him. When told by gardaí some of what the children had alleged against him, he replied: “No, no, that’s as as sure as God, no...All I did was look after those children.”
The six family members, who can’t be named for legal reasons, are accused of abusing three children between 2014 and 2016. The accused are the parents, aunts and uncles of the children. They range in ages from 27 to 56 and live in various locations in Munster.
The parents are also accused of neglecting five of their children. All of the accused have denied the charges against them.
Reporting restrictions are in place to protect the welfare and identities of the children.
The man told gardaí that his wife is the children’s aunt and that he was known to them as an uncle. He told gardaí that he got on well with his in-laws but that he hadn’t been speaking with the children’s parents since 2017.
He said that when the children were taken into care, “it did hurt us” but that he was “happy in one way” that they were being removed from their parents. “I knew they would get a rearing, food to eat and be warm.”
When later asked if he thought the children should be returned to their parents, he said no.
The man said it was “a big shock” to hear the allegations against him. “The only thing I did was look after them,” he said of the children. “I fed them when they didn’t have it.”
In response to one allegation involving his nephew he said: “No, no definitely no, that is lies. 100 per cent.” In response to another allegation involving the children, he said: “It sickens me”.
When asked why the children would make such allegations against him, the man said he didn’t know.
“I’m sorry for the children, but I’m being blamed wrong,” he told gardaí.
Earlier on Friday, transcripts of the remaining three Garda interviews with the children’s father were read out.
The man was interviewed on six occasions over a two-day period following his arrest in 2018, the trial has heard. The interviews spanned roughly 12 hours.
The man told gardaí he couldn’t figure out why the children were making the allegations against him. “I haven’t seen them in a year, I don’t know,” he said, the court heard.
When asked about how he disciplined his children, the man said he would ground them. “I might tip them a little bit,” he said.
In relation to his daughter, he said she was “very good” and a “bright girl”. He said she used to help him with the dishes. He said he never saw her doing anything strange or unusual.
When asked if he loved his daughter, the man replied: “It would be 100 per cent the way I love them. It would all be the same.”
He denied the abuse allegations his daughter made against him, saying: “Never happened, all lies”.
When asked if his daughter was a liar, the man said: “I can’t answer that. She never made up a big story to me.”
In relation to his eldest son, the man said he was “a different child to the rest of them”. “He would be happy one minute, sad the next,” the father said. “He ran away a few times.”
The man repeatedly denied abusing his eldest son or any of his children throughout the interview. “I didn’t do anything to my children,” he said.
“I’ve nothing to admit. I know what I didn’t do,” he said.
At the end of the final interviews, when asked if he had taken care of his family, the father replied: “I didn’t know what was going on. I’ve a bit of anger in me.”
A Garda involved in the case agreed with Mark Nicholas SC, defending, that the man co-operated with gardaí and answered their questions, even though he had the right to remain silent.
The trial continues next week before Mr Justice Paul McDermott and a jury.