When a child's love is not enough
06/02/1999 | 00:11SHARE
Roisin O'Connor may live to regret the day her mother `targeted' her father, following the week's accusations. Myles McWeeney reportsWhen two people get embroiled in difficulties in a personal relationship there are always three versions of the story his version, her version and the unvarnished truth.
In the current contretemps between Irish Times columnist John Waters and singer Sinead O'Connor, over the care of their almost three-year-old daughter Roisin, only one of the parties is talking, and that's Sinead. And her talking is now being done through a firm of London solicitors.
Sinead recalls that last Saturday, January 30, she got a call from an English journalist asking for her reaction to a series of allegations concerning the care of Roisin made to the police and social services.
On Monday afternoon she underwent a 90 minute interrogation at her home by social workers, who went through each element of the complaint, apparently made after she refused John Waters entry into her house, and interviewed her two children. They cleared the singer of any wrongdoing in relation to her children.
A spokesman for Camden social services confirmed on Wednesday that they had visited Sinead's house. ``We went to follow up a complaint that had been made by a former boyfriend and we followed it up. We are not planning to take further action,'' he said.
And that is despite O'Connor's frank admission to the social workers that she smokes marijuana. She told reporter Audrey Magee that she doesn't take drugs but that she smoked a little weed now and again.
``I told the social workers and they laughed. I do not take drink or any other drugs. Everybody knows that.'' The 32-year-old singer is incandescent with rage at the man she once referred to a little insensitively as the ``donor'' of her baby. ``I thought I was going to faint when I heard what he did,'' she said.
This is an absolutely disgraceful thing for him to do. My greatest fear is being told that I was unfit to look after my children. A lot of people know that whatever you can say about me, being a bad mother is not one of them. I have been a very loving and conscientious mother.''
Before her lawyer's cone of silence descended, Sinead had admitted to a British journalist that she now lived in fear of Roisin's father trying to take her from her. It's not as if he hasn't tried before. Eight weeks after Roisin was born, Waters launched a custody bid claiming Sinead was unfit to be a mother.
The circumstances of little Roisin's conception and birth were a little unusual. It has been suggested that Sinead `targeted' Waters because of his intelligence, and they had only met three or four times before she became pregnant. Eight weeks into the pregnancy Waters cut all contact with her, which caused O'Connor considerable distress, but shortly before Roisin's birth there was a partial rapprochement and Waters was present in the delivery room.
Being a father was ``the best feeling in the world'', a delighted Waters told the Evening Herald, adding. ``Sinead's a brilliant mother and I have great respect for her ... she looks after Roisin very well and we are both very responsible parents.''
In a way one can have some sympathy with John Waters' present concern for his daughter. At times Roisin's mother can utter sentiments as weird as, if not weirder, than Glen Hoddle's take on reincarnation. Only months ago, in October 1998, Sinead O'Connor told a reporter, with every semblance of sincerity, that she sees her dysfunctional childhood, her abortions, her miscarriages and attempted suicide, as great gifts.
``It may sound a bit ****ed up, but our souls, I believe, come into this world in order to develop. I believe you chose your parents and the experiences you are going to have.''
There doesn't seem to be any doubt that John Waters dotes on his little girl. Because she and her mother live in London, Mr Waters gave up his permanent job and bought a house in London. He sees Roisin 10 days a month, takes her when Sinead is on tour and brings her on holidays to Ireland.
It appears to be a close paternal relationship reports suggest he speaks to her in Irish much of the time so she will remember her roots and talks to her about his feelings for her and how he would suffer if he wasn't able to see her.
Sinead O'Connor says she is going to pursue all legal avenues available to her to gain redress. ``I will never interfere with his relationship with Roisin, but I will not let anyone do what he's done to me. He wants me to look like a hypocrite. I don't want his money because that would hurt his daughter. But I will hear a judge say, `You have been defamed by this man and should be getting all his money'. I am going to take £1.''
So how did the relationship between Waters and O'Connor get to such a parlous state? ``Perhaps John and I should have talked this through more. I couldn't say we went into it with our eyes entirely open. We didn't know each other very well,'' Sinead said this week with masterly understatement and the benefit of 20/20 hindsight.
In such a situation there are no winners, and the biggest loser will probably be the innocent Roisin who is quite old enough to be aware of the tensions between her estranged parents and be emotionally damaged by them.
Psychologist Ann Marie McMahon, a relationship specialist, says that from what has been appearing in the newspapers both John Waters and Sinead O'Connor seem to be behaving in a childish fashion.
``Both the parents have fame and fortune, (although he might deny the fortune), but both are very aware whatever they do is going to make the newspapers,'' she says. ``She's been in therapy, both are extremely volatile personalities, and both appear to be carrying a lot of emotional baggage.
`` They must get onto an adult relationship basis for the sake of the child, and they may need a mediator to work it out. Dragging the child's ame through the courts will do nobody, lest of all Roisin, any good.'' Ann Marie McMahon admits it is an unusual case in that problems arose even before the child was born.http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/wh ... 59013.html