Many may well be shocked to hear of the unilateral removal of a child reported to be less than 6 years old from Ireland to Asia reported in the Irish Independent today. Link here: https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/crime/gardai-issue-arrest-warrant-for-medical-professional-alleged-to-have-fled-to-asia-with-boy-41906479.html.
The mother’s distress cannot be articulated.
The article conveys an image the authorities are pro-actively responding..
There will be many parents in Ireland who will have experienced similar dynamics. That is the unilateral relocation of their child without their knowledge or consent. There are professionals working in Family Law who will have seen this dynamic occur frequently across Ireland (North and South).
Consider for a moment, It is Friday afternoon you attend your child’s school as scheduled to collect your child from the school. You have been looking forward to meeting the child because since the divorce the custody and access arrangement was 50/50 week on and week off. You have many activities planned that you know your child will enjoy. You have been particularly looking forward to the child’s communion service during the coming week and the extended family gathering to celebrate.
You notice all of the children have left and there is no sign of your child coming from the school gate. Your ex has not been in touch to highlight anything and so you become concerned. You enter the school seeking a staff member. Your met by the principle to be told your child has not been at school all week, she tells you she was notified several weeks previously that your child was being removed from the school relocating to another part of the country but she does not know where to.
You reach out to that parent and there is no response. You attend the house where the other parent lived and your met with the landlord that tells you the other parent has moved out leaving rent arrears. You are beside yourself with worry and concern for your child. You attend a Garda (Police) Station to report your concerns. The Garda tells you “it is a civil matter”, nothing they can do and to contact your Solicitor during business hours (if you have one).
You contact a Solicitor the following Monday. She tells you it will take many months to get the matter to Court. There is essentially nothing you can do in the meantime but wait until the matter can be listed for hearing. You do not know where your child is living and you have no address to attend the scheduled contact. Your thinking of the Communion dress in the wardrobe at home and now there is no child.
Many months later you discover your child has been unilaterally relocated 3 hours drive away, she has been enrolled in the new school with a different surname and you are not listed as an emergency contact to your horror you discover your ex’s new partner is listed as the other parent of your child in the school. You are confused and angry. You wonder how can a school in Ireland today deviate from the name on the Child’s birth and baptismal certificate, how has the school not made inquiries of the previous school. How can this be allowed to happen.
There are many thousands of parents across Ireland today who will identify with this experience. Their children did not have to be relocated to Asia to erase them out of the life of their child.
Now imagine that parent is a mother, left without a child for no good reason and the child is now left without a Mother for no good reason. That child was eight years old then and is 23 years old today. Child and Mother have had no contact in all of that time despite having spent 90,000 euro’s in Legal fees.
Women’s Aid say this does not exist and does not happen, the ISPCC, Children’s Rights Alliance and many others remain silent in a deafening way just like the deafening silence around Jimmy Saville and the Clerical Child Sex Abuse in the past.
I see Parental Alienation dynamics at play here where a normal range healthy parent has been erased out of the life of this 6 year old child. I see the National Media happy to write about children relocated across the globe to Asia but unwilling or unable to write about similar dynamics that occur here at home every week.
This is the second such case published in the Irish Independent recently remember https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/the-last-time-i-saw-them-was-in-2019-irish-mother-on-her-search-for-her-four-children-in-tunisia-41896933.html a few days ago
But Women’s Aid and others say Parental Alienation is not real and does not exist. Would anyone in here like to tell the mother in the Irish Independent today that this is not real and it does not exist.
The Department of Justice recently held a public consultation regarding Parental Alienation. This may be an opportunity to locate this as a child welfare issue rather than a reductionist gender biased issue.
Training for professionals in Parental Alienation is available here: https://parentalalienation.eu/post-graduate-award-in-parental-alienation-studies/