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Children Taken into Emergency Care while Parents were Drunk

Three young children were taken into temporarily protective custody in Portugal because their parents were so drunk they had collapsed.

The couple from Northern Ireland, Eamon McGuckin, 34 and his wife Antoinette, were staying in the Aparthotel Mourabel Vilamoura in the Algarve on a week long family holiday.

The family returned to the hotel after going out for dinner where the parents were the worse for wear after spending time at a bar where a pint of beer cost only 1 Euro.

The police were called to the hotel where they were staying by the bar staff after the husband collapsed in the reception area and his wife staggered into the bar with the children before falling into a chair and neither one could be woken up.

The hotel manager said "The lady, she tried to go with the children to the apartment. A Spanish woman came and found me and told me there was a woman with a child who was drunk.

"She was struggling with the push chair, swaying around from side to side. The six-year-old boy was pushing the other buggy with the two-year-old girl in it.

"We put her and the children inside the bar. She was sitting on a chair and she fell asleep and never woke up.

"We tried to wake her, we tried to put some water on her face and head to wake her but she was very, very bad. She started to be sick every minute."

Police and Medical Service Were Called

When the police arrived at the hotel at 10pm they were unable to revive the inebriated and ‘passed out’ and after assessing the situation the INEM which is Portugal’s national medical emergency service were called. 

After rushing the unconscious pair to a health centre in nearly Loule the children, one year old Adam, two year old Amy and Aaron, six were taken to the Refugio Aboim Acsensao children’s home in Faro.

Dr Luis Villas-Boas, the home's director, said the incident was "very very shocking".

"It is the first time it has happened in my 22 years working at this home," he said. "It's normal for a couple for one to drink while the other doesn't drink. The problem here is they were both passed out. It was extreme neglect and abandonment. I hope somebody carries this information to the UK so these parents can at least be seen because these children are indeed at risk.

Hotel staff had commented on the couple saying they were well dressed ‘nice people’ and their children were very well behaved. 

Children Not Stressed by Ordeal

The children were not stressed by the experience and showed no signs of neglect.  Dr Villas-Boas said he believes they will not suffer any lasting ill effects from their ordeal.  They were returned back into the care of their parents after their night of emergency care the following day.

On picking up their children from the home they appeared very upset and were concerned if the media had found out about the incident.

Dr Villas-Boas said “the press were not around – they were very fortunate in that there was very heavy news from Great Britain that day with it being the one year landmark of Madeleine McCann’s disappearance.

Back in their home town in Northern Ireland, the McGuckin’s neighbours’ voiced surprise and shock of the events and quoted "I've never really seen them out socialising. They just keep themselves to themselves and look after their wee ones.

"They're lovely parents and their children are always happy."

Drinking while caring for young children can have devastating results for them and the whole family.  I’m sure this is one family who will be looking back at their holiday with regrets for a long time to come and thankfully the children were not harmed, or worse still lost.