An Ennis judge has said that men questioning the paternity of babies and demanding DNA tests “is an unfair weapon to pull out” in child maintenance cases.

Judge Patrick Durcan made his comment in the Family Law Court where a man has stopped paying maintenance for a child after questioning if he is the father and demanding that a DNA test be carried out. The alleged father is now querying paternity in spite of telling the mother in a text a number of months ago that he would support the baby boy forever.

The mother’s solicitor has reported that her client wasn’t in a steady relationship with the man at the time but had no concerns over the outcome of the paternity test.

“It is not fair that my client would be deprived of this maintenance payment because the man has brought this DNA request”, she said.

In giving evidence, the mother said that the man has constantly admitted that he is the father. He has signed the baby’s birth certificate and went to the Garda station and signed his passport.

Judge Durcan said: “I am told that this man has accepted paternity — that he has paid maintenance up to a point some weeks ago. I have to accept all of that as evidence of his accepting paternity.”

He said that in maintenance cases, men raising the issue of paternity and demanding DNA tests “is an unfair weapon to pull out”.

Responding to the claim, the alleged father’s solicitor said: “I’ve had a number of cases where putative fathers have accepted paternity, maintenance has been paid — even on an interim basis — and ‘the DNA weapon’ as you like to call it comes out and it emerges that the ‘father’ is not the father.”

The mother is now seeking an interim order that the man pay €50 a week maintenance pending the outcome of the paternity test. The case is adjourned until September when the situation will be reviewed.

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