A FIVE-year old boy will have to be given vaccine booster injections following a High Court dispute between his estranged mother and father over whether he should have the jabs.
Mr Justice Michael Moriarty ruled the boy should have the vaccinations, but put a month-long stay on his order in case the mother brings an appeal to the Supreme Court.
The estranged parents had gone to court in a row over whether their child should have his MMR (measles, mumps rubella) and the 4-in-1 booster.
Mr Justice Moriarty heard evidence from the mother, who did not want him to have the shots, and from the father, who wanted the injections to be given as speedily as possible.
The mother wanted the judge to quash a Circuit Court order last year that the boy be given the vaccinations under the HSE school immunisation scheme.
The District Court and Circuit Court ruled the inoculations should proceed.
When the child was born he was immunised without dispute and no adverse reactions were reported after any of the shots. The parents' relationship broke down in 2009.
Last year, the child was due to receive the two injections provided by the HSE programme to children in Junior Infants, but a dispute arose between the parents on the issue.
Yesterday Mr Justice Moriarty ruled the HSE in the boy's locality be notified of the court's decision but he allowed a 28-day stay on the vaccines.
The judge said the mother and father were clearly loving parents and it was unfortunate the deterioration in their relationship has extended to disagreements over whether their son ought to be vaccinated.
He did not accept that a hierarchy of authority could exist in cases where unmarried guardians have disagreements as to the medical treatment for their children.
He did not, he said, accept the argument that the mother as primary carer has the stronger voice than the father.