Man in 80s gets protection orders against three sons living with him

Man had row with son in his early 50s during which he thought he would ‘get a few smacks’

A woman got a protection order against her adult grandson, and a man in his 80s got protection orders against his three adults sons during a busy session at the Dublin District Family Court on Monday, during which the Covid-19 lockdown was mentioned on a number of occasions.

The man who got protection orders against his three sons, who live with him, said he had a verbal row with a son who is aged in his early 50s on Thursday during which, he said, “I thought I was going to get a few smacks”.

His late wife had been able to manage the son, but now "he wants to take over. He wants to be number one," the man told Judge John Campbell.

He said another son, who is also in his 50s, was drinking a lot. “All he wants to do is drink, drink, drink. Cans. Any few bob he gets from the Post Office, he drinks it.” When he’s drunk , he said, “he’s like a demon”.


Takes drugs

The third son, who is in his mid-40s, takes drugs, “anything he can get his hands on”, and recently caused a fire in the house.

Judge Campbell granted interim protection orders against the three men, meaning they can be found guilty of a criminal offence if they put their father in fear or threaten violence against him.

A hearing in July will consider whether a longer-term order should be made, after the men have been granted the opportunity to give their side of the story. A protection order does not mean a person has to leave their home.

A woman who asked the court for a protection order against her adult grandson said that since her husband had died two years ago, her grandson thinks “I’m the man of the house.” When he doesn’t get his way, she said, he throws furniture and bangs doors.

The woman and the young man share the house with one of her sons, who is not the younger man’s father. The grandson has been living in the house since he was a child.

Since the Covid-19 lockdown, he had not been able to visit his baby, the grandmother said. “This annoys him.”

The woman’s son gave evidence that he had been recently threatened by his nephew. The judge granted interim temporary protection orders to both the grandmother and her son.

A woman who was granted a temporary protection order against her husband said they had been having difficulties for some time but the lockdown had “highlighted the problem”.

They were both working from home and recently he had progressed from being verbally abusive to being violent, and was also now making their daughter frightened.

Prolonged outburst

Another woman who is working from home said her husband, who is also working from home, had a prolonged outburst on Saturday that traumatised not just her and her family but also the neighbours.

She has children trying to study at home, including one who is doing exams at Trinity College Dublin.

“I never thought I would be in this situation, never in my life,” she said. “It is humiliating and embarrassing.”

She had called gardaí before about her husband, she told Judge Campbell, who granted an interim protection order.

A woman who had secured an interim barring order against her adult son earlier this month was asked by the judge what the atmosphere in her house had been like since then.

“Do you know what?” she said. “For the first time in years I feel a sense of peace in my own home. But I also feel that I have a lost a son, and I am grieving him.”

She said she would like the order to be made for the maximum period, which is three years.

She was concerned for her other child, and she did not want her son’s hatred for her to get to the point where he would hit her. “It’s like he blacks out. He goes mad. I don’t want him to have to carry that knowledge.” Asked whether her son drank alcohol, the woman said he “smokes weed”.

Another woman told the court that her former boyfriend used to work in construction but was now unemployed because of the lockdown.

“He is drinking every single night,” she told Judge Campbell. They got in a fight on Saturday and he pushed her when he came into the kitchen and found her pouring two bottles of Jameson down the sink.

She was concerned for her own welfare and that of her children. The judge granted an interim barring order against the man.

Colm Keena

Colm Keena

Colm Keena is an Irish Times journalist. He was previously legal-affairs correspondent and public-affairs correspondent