Grandmother seeking access tells Family Court she only shoplifted for food

Judge warns bickering couple that court is ‘not a TV reality show’

Dublin District Family Court: judge tells couple that if the house is the underlying issue they would be much better off going to mediation

Dublin District Family Court: judge tells couple that if the house is the underlying issue they would be much better off going to mediation


A maternal grandmother seeking access to her grandson told the Dublin District Family Court she only shoplifted for food.

The boy’s mother had accused the grandmother, her mother, of not being a good person to be around her son. But the grandmother said she had been a good influence up to the end of last year and was being pushed out because of her daughter’s “new man”.

The grandmother told Judge Patricia McNamara that until the end of last year she saw her daughter and grandson every day. However, the daughter was now dating someone new and didn’t want her “in the picture”.

The daughter said access had nothing to do with her partner. She complained that her mother was abusive when drunk or on tablets, which the grandmother denied.

“The reason we fell out was because of the highly abusive phone calls,” the mother said.

Allow access

She told the judge she was prepared to allow access once a month.

Asked if her son had ever complained about his grandmother’s behaviour toward him, the mother said no. The judge also asked if the boy had a relationship with his maternal grandfather.

“Yes, he brought me up,” the mother said.

“Because I was in a violent relationship,” the grandmother responded.

The judge said it seemed reasonable to allow access twice a month and she could put conditions on that. She said the grandmother was to drop and collect and could see the boy for 3½ hours every other Thursday.

“And she’s not allowed shoplift,” the mother interrupted.

“I never did – you were the one who had the shoplifted clothes,” the grandmother argued.

“You did so shoplift,” the mother said.

“In the past I did, for food for you,” the mother answered.

The judge reminded the two women they were in a court.

Work things out

She outlined further conditions to be attached to the access order, including that the grandmother was not to drink alcohol or take non-prescription drugs eight hours prior to or during access and was not to visit any pubs. She said the two women were not to put each other down in the presence of the boy.

She said she hoped, for the boy’s sake, they could work things out.

In a separate case, the judge warned bickering parents the court was “not a TV reality show”.

“This is a court of law – the two of you are not to be at each other like that,” she said.

The mother had taken the father to court for arrears of maintenance. He was due to pay €80 a week for their two children, by court order, but had stopped the previous October.


The father said their older daughter, a teenager, lived with him full-time and he had their son on a part-time basis. He said he did everything for them, “breakfast, lunch and dinner”. The maintenance had been in place to help “to keep the house on track”, he said, but he found out his ex-partner had been paying nothing toward the mortgage and wanted the house repossessed.

He said he had offered to pay his wife €50 a week so they wouldn’t “drag their lives through the court”.

The mother said she paid for everything for the children, and had receipts for uniforms and books. She denied their daughter was living with her ex-partner full-time.

“Someone is telling me lies,” the judge said.

She told the couple if the house was the underlying issue they would be much better off going to mediation. She said she would make an interim order for €50 a week and the couple could return after mediation for a final order.