Parents 'passed out on couch' for social worker's visit
A social worker came across two parents passed out on the couch in the sitting room with two young children unattended nearby, a court has heard.
At a special sitting of the Family Law Court in Ennis, Co Clare, where Judge Patrick Durcan granted an emergency care order to Tusla, the child and family agency, for the six-year-old girl and the boy (3), the social worker said that the children told her that they had tried to wake the parents without success.
The social worker called to the home last week at 10.45am on a school day and she said that the children had to make their own breakfast when they couldn't wake up the two.
The social worker was giving evidence on behalf of Tusla for an emergency care order for the two children.
She said she asked the six-year-old girl why she wasn't at school and the girl said that "mommy didn't wake up to bring me to school".
The social worker, who was making a scheduled call to the home, said that after some effort she was able to wake up the parents but they became quite aggressive towards each other and towards her.
She told the court: "When I felt that I was unable to calm the situation, I sought the help of the gardaí."
The social worker said the parents continued to fight with each other and the six-year-old girl covered her ears "and I brought her over towards me for some comfort and the gardaí arrived".
A garda witness said that four gardaí were running around trying to separate the children from the parents.
She said the children were very distressed.
The female garda told the court: "I decided that it was best to take the children out of there for their safety and well-being."
The garda told the court that the parents were under the influence of some intoxicant and the father told the court that he had taken prescription drug Xanax.
Judge Durcan said he was granting an emergency care order to Tusla and he then adjourned the case to Ennis District Court on Thursday.