Men 'don't have a hope in hell with laws here'
Published 04/09/2010 | 05:00
For Paddy, the domestic violence started on his honeymoon but he always hoped and believed it would stop.
Then last autumn, his wife injured him badly enough that he was hospitalised. She then left the family home, taking the children with her.
When Paddy (not his real name) tried to press charges against her, she claimed he had injured himself. In the past six months, Paddy has seen his children on only a handful of occasions and then under supervision. He has missed important events such as their birthdays and Christmas.
As he faces into further court appearances, he does not even know where his children are, even though there is no evidence he has ever done anything to harm them.
And he claims that, having spent months listening to his wife, the children do not even want to see him now. "If it was the other way around, I would be locked up in Mountjoy right now. With the laws in Ireland, men have not got a hope in hell," he said.
He admits he is not a small man -- he is over 6ft and is well-built -- but he has never resorted to physical violence, nor has his wife ever claimed that he did.
"As soon as a woman has a tear in her eye and says that she is 'living in fear' she is believed.
"All I want is to be able to give them a hug. I have nothing now.
"They were my best friends and now I'm not even allowed to know where they live," he said.