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Dinner with mother and dessert with father, judge rules


A judge has ruled in a Confirmation celebration dispute between estranged parents that their children have their main course with their mother and then have their dessert with their father in different rooms at a hotel after the event.

At Ennis Circuit Court, Judge Francis Comerford said that he was making the orders concerning the Confirmation celebration as the parents could not agree on dinner arrangements at the hotel with their children and their guests.

Judge Comerford said that making orders in the case “is not ideal in any way”.

He said: “It is not ideal that people are coming to court when they can’t agree on matters like this.”

Solicitor Mairéad Doyle for the father had proposed that the parents, children and family guests all eat together at the hotel.

However, Judge Comerford said: “I am not going to direct that people stay at the same table if they can’t stay at the same table – it is really unfortunate.”

Instead, he said that at the hotel, the couple’s children will have their main course with their mother and her family guests in a room at the hotel.

Judge Comerford then directed that the children then go to another room to have their dessert with their father and his family guests.

On behalf of her client, Ms Doyle asked that the children’s dessert time with their father be one hour and Judge Comerford directed that this be the case.

He said that he could see the sense of the children having their meal with their parents for the Confirmation celebration “and it would be a good thing if it happened”.

Judge Comerford said that the father will have control of the children for an hour and a half after the Confirmation mass during which time photos would be taken.

He had urged both sides to reach a compromise.

“Whatever arrangements have to be put in place should be put in place by the parents in the best interests of their children,” Judge Comerford said.

Ms Doyle brought the matter before court as the two sides in correspondence could not agree on dinner arrangements for the event outside court during March and April.

Ms Doyle said that her client has an application for sole custody for the children currently before Limerick Circuit Court.

Ms Doyle said: “We are proposing a joint dinner because we are trying to promote a united front with the children.”

She added: “Proposing a joint dinner would the best approach to show that the two sides can set aside their differences for the day.”

Solicitor for the mother, Seán O’Hanrahan, said that his client “really wants the children to have a great day”.

He said that his client was agreeable to the children’s father spending two hours with them for photos after the Confirmation mass.

Mr O’Hanrahan said that his client has no difficulty with her ex-husband if he wants to invite guests and pay for their meal at the hotel.

He added: “But we cannot make the dinner arrangement for him – that is something for the hotel. That is what is being asked of us, and asked of you judge, to fix his dinner arrangements.”

Mr O’Hanrahan said that his client had made a dinner booking in the room designated for Confirmation family celebrations.

Mr O’Hanrahan asked for his client’s costs in the case and Judge Comerford replied “not a chance”. Ms Doyle said that she had no application for costs.


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