Father endangered baby girl’s life by dangling her over river upside down, court told

Man also accused of swinging baby overhead and to the ground, barely missing steel pole

A father endangered the life of his three and a half month old baby girl when he held her upside down by one leg over the River Fergus in Ennis during a tense stand-off in April, a court has heard.

The allegation is among seven new charges brought against the 28-year-old Ennis man at Ennis District Court concerning a series of alleged offences over a four-hour period at four locations on April 10th and the early hours of April 11th last.

Members of the Garda Armed Response Unit along with trained negotiators were called in to defuse the situation concerning the father and his baby girl.

The man was arrested and the baby was returned into the arms of her mother shortly after 2am on April 11th.


The man is accused of intentionally or recklessly engaging in conduct where he held the baby upside-down by one leg over the River Fergus at Woodquay, Ennis creating a substantial risk of death or serious harm. He is also accused of intentionally or recklessly swinging the baby over his head and to the ground aggressively and narrowly missing a steel pole at Carmody Street, Ennis on April 10th.

Other allegations include making threats that he would kill or cause serious harm to the baby and violently tossing the baby around in the air while holding her by one ankle with one hand and threatening to smash her head off the ground.

The man is also charged with wilfully assaulting, ill-treating, neglecting and exposing the child in a manner likely to cause unnecessary suffering. The accused made ‘no reply’ after charge and caution.

Sgt Aiden Lonergan told Judge Patrick Durcan that the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has directed that the case proceed by indictment to the Circuit Court.

Persons convicted in the circuit court of offences under Section 13 Non Fatal Against the Person Act and Section 246 of the Children’s Act are liable to prison terms up to seven years.

Gardaí have taken 60 statements and sought CCTV from 30 different premises in Ennis as part of an investigation into the alleged offences.

The Ennis man has been in custody since the incident and has remained on remand at Limerick prison after facing an initial charge concerning the incident. Bail applications at the District Court and High Court were refused.

Solicitor for the accused, Daragh Hassett told the judge that he intends to bring a fresh bail application next Wednesday. The man is also charged with assault causing harm of his partner and the child’s mother on Friday, April 10th at an address in Ennis prior to the alleged assault of the baby.

Judge Durcan further remanded the accused man — who can't be named for legal reasons — in custody to appear again before court on July 22nd.

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan is a contributor to The Irish Times