At The High Court


The Four Courts in Dublin

This morning.

At the High Court before Judge Richard Humphries.

A single mother, who was the foster carer for a baby born prematurely with severe health difficulties for more than a year, will challenge the actions of Tusla in the hope that what she claims happened to her won’t happen to anyone else.

In March of last year, the mum-of-two, who has fostered more than a dozen children in the past, responded to a call-out from Tusla for a volunteer to sit with the baby in a hospital, and cuddle it, as, Tusla said, the then three-month-old baby hadn’t had any significant human contact since it was born.

As time went on, the mother began fostering the baby and underwent specialised training to learn how to feed and care for it.

She sought to adopt the baby but she was told it was the birth mother’s wish that the child be adopted by a married couple. However, Tusla organised for her to have a legal consultation on the matter.

In April of this year, while the child with severe special needs was recovering in hospital following surgery, the mother claims it was abruptly removed from the hospital and given to a couple in the process of adopting the child.

The adoption process in regards to the child is not yet complete but it’s expected to be finalised in several months.

However, by seeking a judicial review of how Tusla handled the case, the mother wants to stop the adoption process which Tusla has started with the couple and she’s also seeking an order compelling Tusla to consider her application to adopt the child.

She claims Tusla didn’t follow procedure, didn’t provide for a proper transitioning period and didn’t give her adequate notice of what was going to happen.

She also claims the best interests of the child were not served in how Tusla handled the case.

An internal Tulsa investigation into the matter is also already under way.

Related: Single mum takes Tusla to court after agency takes away foster baby (Mark Tighe, The Sunday Times)

Foster mother loses custody of child because birth mother wants kid to go to “a couple” (Irish Mirror, April 28, 2018)


The mother has been granted a judicial review and will come back before the High Court on October 16.

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10 thoughts on “At The High Court

  1. Rep

    “the then three-month-old baby hadn’t had any significant human contact since it was born.”

    “She sought to adopt the baby but she was told it was the birth mother’s wish that the child be adopted by a married couple.”

    Sorry but how does the birth mother have any say in this?

    1. Cian

      simply because she is the birth mother.

      ARTICLE 41
      41.1.1° The State recognises the Family as the natural primary and fundamental unit group of Society, and as a moral institution possessing inalienable and imprescriptible rights, antecedent and superior to all positive law.

      1. millie st murderlark

        I appreciate that this is an essential part of our constitution, and that it is generally there for the protection of the family’s rights – but.
        As the mother of a seriously premature baby who spent every day for two months in hospital with her, this really pisses me off. The value of touch to the development and health of a prem infant cannot be stressed. Skin-to-skin is invaluable in that it stabilises heart rate, the breathing, the body temperature of the baby. It is so much more important that just that to the essential growth and development of an extremely vulnerable infant. It’s not a miracle cure, but it is something that all NICU staff place huge importance on and encourage where possible as the good it does to prem infants cannot be overstated.
        If she couldn’t provide even that most basic care of holding her own child, then imo she forfeits her right to a say in where her child is placed.

        1. Cian

          Millie, I totally agree with you. If a biological mother can’t, or won’t, provide for the child then they should forfeit rights. However it is a very complex issue, and each case is different.

          If, for example, the mother above said that she would consent to adoption only on condition that the baby went to a married couple. Tusla then need to weigh up
          (a) leaving the baby with the foster mother, but the biological mother (BM) still can change her mind and look to be carer again/interfere in the baby’s life [foster mother may lose baby back to BM at any stage]? versus
          (b) accept her condition, find a married couple, and entrust the baby’s future welfare to them (away from the BM). This is truly horrific for the foster mother, but may be in the baby’s best interests.

          At the end of the day, the decision needs to be in the baby’s best interest.

  2. Eeef

    Good on her, she sounds like a caring person who answers a call like that from Tusla. The birth mother should not have a say under these circumstances or Tusla should have some sort of power to challenge the birth mothers.. At the end of the day there is a little baby who needs physical consistent contact. My heart is broke reading this story

      1. realPolithicks

        I agree with you there dav, but they also have a proven record of very poor (to say the least) behavior and professional standards. They are an organization that needs to be carefully monitored by the regulators.

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