A federal court has ruled that six-year-old Jack Redmond should be returned to Chicago to live with his mother.
The boy at the center of an ongoing international custody battle has been living with his father, Derek Redmond, in Ireland since July 2012 following an Irish court's decision that the parents should share custody. However, the boy’s mother, Mary Redmond, has not seen her son in over a year.
In 2012 the Irish courts ruled that the Redmonds should share custody of the their son, Jack. Mary was unable to travel to Ireland as she had violated the Irish court's order to bring Jack to Ireland. She faced jail time in Ireland for contempt of court.
Previously, the courts in the United States had ruled that Mary should abide by the Irish court's decision. However, this week U.S. District Judge Charles Norgle Sr. ruled that Jack should be returned to the United States.
In court Mary Redmond heard that the judge’s order would be “immediately enforceable” and that the authorities will expedite a United States passport for Jack.
Speaking to the Chicago Tribune the elated mother said she can’t wait to get Jack “back in my arms again.” However she hasn’t told her son about the good news just yet. She said “I wanted to say something, but he's only 6…A few days feels like an eternity to him.”
Jack was born in March 2007 in Illinois, but Derek and Mary moved to Ireland when the baby was just 11 days old. This means that Jack has dual citizenship and also means he is subject to Irish law.
After the couple, who never married, split up Derek filed for joint custody. Mary had claimed that Derek was mentally and physically abusive. The Irish courts ruled that the parents should share custody.
On July 10, 2012 Jack left Chicago for Ireland. He was accompanied by Mary’s mother, Peggy. Until that point he had lived with his mother.
When they were separated Mary told CBS “I'm shattered. I'm shattered. This is our home, and I don't want him to go.”
Peggy spoke to CBS before they boarded the flight to Ireland in 2012. She said “He is so loved and so taken care of, and he belongs home in America, and I don't know why America isn't keeping him home.”
In 2012 Mary spoke to our sister publication, the Irish Voice, about the heartache she felt being separated from her son.
She said “I said to [my son] this morning, ‘I’m so sorry,’ and he said, ‘It’s okay, Mommy. I’m brave and I’m strong. It’s not your fault.’’
“It broke my heart.”
Derek’s lawyer, David Schaffer, said Mary had brought this situation upon herself by unlawfully keeping the child in the US prior to 2012.
For now Jack Redmond will return to live with his mother Mary in the Chicago suburb of Orland Park.