Judge directs parents to have main course and dessert in separate rooms of hotel for Confirmation celebration

Ennis courthouse
Ennis Courthouse

A JUDGE has ruled in a Confirmation celebration row between estranged parents that their children have their main course with their mother and dessert with their father in post-ceremony celebration meals in different rooms at a hotel.

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

Judge Comerford said of making the order that “it is not ideal that people are coming to court when they can’t agree on matters like this.”

Solicitor Mairead Doyle, for the father, had proposed that the parents, children, and family guests all eat together at the hotel. Judge Comerford replied that “I am not going to direct that people stay at the same table if they can’t stay at the same table”.

Instead, the judge 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, after which the children can go to another room to have their dessert with their father and his family guests.

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Judge Comerford urged both sides to reach a compromise, saying that “whatever arrangements have to be put in place should be put in place by the parents in the best interests of their children”.

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

Ms Doyle said that the day is one the children are going to remember for the rest of their lives, telling the court that she had sent proposals for the day on April 10 to solicitors for the mother in the case and received a three-page reply.

She said that her client contacted the hotel and added six people to the dinner reservation that the mother initially had for the day. She added that her client went back to the hotel “and it transpires that those six people had been taken off that table by some third party”.

Ms Doyle said that the children’s mother says she didn’t cancel the six people “but someone cancelled it”.

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 the children’s father inviting guests and paying for their meal at the hotel, “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 you to fix his dinner arrangements.”

He 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.