‘Even the dog is afraid of him’: ‘Terrified’ mother gets barring order against adult son

Man gets protection order against ‘compulsive gambler’ wife over alleged ‘hostile and threatening’ behaviour

A mother who said she locks herself into her bedroom because she is “terrified” of her adult son, a drug addict with a serious psychiatric illness, has obtained a barring order against him.

She said her son, who previously served a prison term, is threatening and abusive to her and drug dealers are coming to her home threatening her over his debts. She fears he “will kill me or someone will burn the house down”, she said. “I can’t take it any more, I am in a constant state of fear. Even the dog is afraid of him.”

This situation was going on for years, her son appeared “a bit more normal” while in prison but “it all started again” when he got out, she said.

She obtained an interim barring order earlier this month but her son came to her house in recent days and smashed glass in a door trying to get in, she said. She locked herself into the house and called the Garda.


Judge Gerard Furlong, sitting on Thursday at the emergency domestic violence court in Dolphin House, Dublin, said he would grant a three-year barring order and recommend the man seek treatment.

Aged in her 60s, the woman was one of four parents, two mothers and two fathers, who separately got barring or protection orders against their adult children at the court sitting.

In one of those applications, a separated man living with his elderly mother, got an interim barring order against his adult son.

His son has threatened to kill him and his mother, to burn her house down and smash the windows, has slashed the tyres of his car and keeps coming around to the house, he said. His son had told him he “wants my head on a stick and will get his gun and blow me away”, he said.

He does not know if his son has a gun, he told the judge, and suspects he may have an addiction to tablets.

In a different application, a man obtained a protection order against his wife whom he said has been a “compulsive gambler” over years who becomes “hostile and threatening” when she loses money at gambling. His wife has “spells” where she can be out of the house for two or three days gambling and, when she wins, she gives him and the children some money and uses the rest to gamble again, he said.

If she loses, she threatens him for money and has used a knife and hammer in such threats, he said. If he refuses, she smashes furniture or objects in the house and has recently become “very hostile” at home, he said. She stole money from their teenage daughter and he called gardaí to deal with a recent incident in the house, he said.

Judge Furlong said he was concerned the situation was spilling over to affect a young child and would grant a protection order. When he said the order would not address the gambling problem, the man said he understood but hoped the making of the order would lead to his wife addressing her problem.

In another case, a young man with alcohol addiction issues told the judge he was consenting to a safety order sought by his former partner. “I would like for you to give her a safety order, there’s no need for a hearing,” he said.

The woman, a mother of young children, said the man is an alcoholic who had made threats against her and she feared for herself and the children because of his history of violent and unpredictable behaviour. He served a prison term for assault on a former partner and can be “volatile”, she said.

He had turned up sober, she said, and she did not object to him being in court for her application.

Describing the situation as “most unusual” at an ex parte (one side only represented) stage, the judge explained any breach of the order would result in the man’s arrest and possible criminal proceedings. The man said he understood and wished to consent to the order.

As the woman left the witness box, the man hugged her.

Mary Carolan

Mary Carolan

Mary Carolan is the Legal Affairs Correspondent of the Irish Times