The parents of an 18-month-old who were drunk while looking after him — with the mother of the child observed lying on the street — were before Ballina District Court this week for being intoxicated while in charge of a child under seven.
Inspector Joe Doherty told the court that a complaint was made to gardaí on June 12 that there were two drunk people pushing a push-chair which had a child in it.
Gardaí located the two at Market Square, Ballina. At this stage the mother, Caroline Craughan (27 ), Glenedagh, Ballycastle, was lying on the ground, while the father of the child, Peter Walsh (53 ), from the same address, was also drunk. The child was located some distance away from the couple in his pram and was eating a box of Pringles.
Both defendants were arrested and the child, their only child, was taken into care. The child remains in foster care and the HSE are monitoring the parents. Neither has previous convictions.
Solicitor for both, Michael Bohan, said that Walsh has a low tolerance for alcohol as he is a coeliac and had previously been an alcoholic. Craughan suffers from psychiatric difficulties. Mr Bohan said that both have stopped drinking and have taken a Pioneer pledge. On the day in question, the court heard that the couple had gone for a meal in a local restaurant and had wine with their dinner.
Inspector Joe Doherty said that it was a “serious” matter, however he said that it seems that both are making an effort.
Judge Mary Devins said to the couple that they need to realise “how precious your baby boy is” and that the consequences of that day have left them without him. The judge said that if they get their child back this should never happen again. The judge applied the Probation Act.