A husband installed a secret “spy camera” at the kitchen table at home after his estranged wife “completely sabotaged every meal I had”.
The man claimed that he was “at the end of my tether” after his former partner at one stage put coins from their daughter’s piggy bank into his dough.
On another occasion he claimed she put rubbish onto his food and threw his ‘setting’ steak on the floor.
The husband said things got so bad that he installed the recording device “to protect myself” after his wife continued to rip-off the headphones off his head he was wearing in the house at meal-times and other times.
The man installed the secret camera last December but it was removed by his estranged wife after she spotted it one week after it was put in place.
The couple separated a number of years ago and the woman moved out of the marital home, according to the Irish Mirror.
However, the woman moved back into the home last year due to economic circumstances when neither party was able to buy each other’s share of the home due to the impact of covid-19.
The estranged couple, from Co Clare, Ireland, were seeking Barring and Safety Orders against each other having already obtained temporary Protection Orders against each other in the district court last September.
After hearing evidence from both sides in the case of flashpoints at home, Judge Mary Larkin, from the Family Law Court, said that she is “absolutely satisfied that he has been vile and she has been vile”.
Judge Larkin added: “This is not domestic violence. This is a breakdown of a marriage and this is conduct unbecoming to both parents of a small child.”
Judge Larkin said that the couple “are both behaving in an extraordinarily unpleasant fashion because they haven’t managed to separate”.
She said: “They have been saying nasty things to each other and they shouldn’t be living together in the same house.”
Judge Larkin said: “I see this as the breakdown of a marriage, failure of mediation and failure of parents to act in an adult fashion.
She said: “They are cursing and shouting and pushing and shoving each other. It is really an appalling view.”
Judge Larkin said that she was making an order to call in TUSLA to carry out a report on the detrimental impact the couple’s break-up is having on their primary school going daughter.
Judge Larkin said that “the welfare of this poor, unfortunate child is certainly in jeopardy due to the conduct of both parties”.
She remarked: “I accept that a marital breakdown takes its toll on parents but it shouldn’t take a toll on children.”
Judge Larkin ordered that the Protection Orders the two have against each other would continue for one more year.
The father, represented by solicitor, William Cahir, told Judge Larkin that he now listens to headphones in the house after being told by a Garda after securing the Protection Order to only communicate with his estranged wife through text message.
He said: “I listen to Marcus Auerilis and Buddhist meditation on the headphones to try to get through this and keep myself calm.”
The man said that at one stage, “I lay down in front of her car as a peaceful protest to try to get her re-enter mediation but she was not interested in doing so. I thought I was being Gandhi – obviously not.”
He said that he lay on the driveway for a minute and a half as his former partner was leaving for the school run.
The woman, represented by solicitor, Shiofra Hassett, said that her estranged husband was wearing the headphones in the home to aggravate her in order “to set me up with his spy camera in the kitchen”.
The woman said that she would remove the headphones from the man’s head “because he was refusing to communicate about parenting and not replying to text messages”.
After stills from the ‘spy camera’ were shown in court of the woman removing the headphones from her husband’s head, Judge Larkin stated: “You think it is okay to whip the headphones off his head? That is an assault. You can’t do that.”
The woman said that she did speak to a mediator but the mediator told her “that we were past mediation”.
Asked by Judge Larkin what that meant, the woman replied “that it has gone bad”.
The woman admitted to putting coins in the pasta but didn’t recall throwing the steak on the floor.
On videoing her ex-partner in the home, the woman said: “I videoed him because it was the only thing that would stop him putting his hands on me”.
She said: “I had to buy a new lock for the bedroom door so I could lock myself in the bedroom.”
The woman said in 2020, “I was bullied out of my own home – I couldn’t take the behavior any more. I didn’t know I could get a Protection Order at the time.”
The man told the court that from the time of his former partner moving back into the home last Summer to the granting of the Protection Order against him in September “I am ashamed of the way I was reacting. The way I spoke to her. We were arguing. I was extremely frustrated.
He added: “I think I can be friends with her again when we get over all of this because it is just horrible… The way things have gone is horrendous for all of us.”
He said: “We are both as bad as each other and it is shameful.”
Judge Larkin adjourned the case to October and told the two that they will have to learn to live together or alternatively, divide up their living quarters.
Judge Larkin stated that the two should go back to mediation to decide how you manage pick-ups and drops off without videoing and recording each other in the home.
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.