Singer to sue over child abuse claims - The Times 1999

from The Times February, 4 1999
sent by Ju Nguan Tan

Audrey Magee reports on feud between Sinead O'Connor and the father of her daughter Sinead O'Connor: "I thought I was going to faint when I heard what he did" Singer to sue over child abuse claims SINEAD O'CONNOR is to sue a former boyfriend after he told police and social services that she abused their child. The multimillionaire Irish singer was cleared of the allegations after a visit from Camden social services this week. She told The Times yesterday that she was suing John Waters, an Irish journalist, for defamation and maliciously claiming that she neglected and emotionally abused their two-year-old daughter. Mr Waters, a columnist on The Irish Times who divides his time between London and Dublin, had reported Ms O'Connor to police and social services in North London last week. O'Connor said he had made five allegations, including one that implied she had a drug habit. She has admitted smoking cannabis. Social services called at her home in Highgate on Monday afternoon and, after a 90-minute meeting, exonerated the singer. A spokesman for Camden social services yesterday confirmed that they had visited O'Connor's house. He said: "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." Yesterday the singer said: "This was an absolutely disgraceful thing for him [Mr Waters] to do. A lot of people know that whatever you can say about me, being a bad mother is not one of them. They know I have been a very loving and conscientious mother." O'Connor, 32, has rejected all Mr Waters's claims. She added: "I do not take drugs - I smoke a little weed now and again, which I told the social workers and they laughed. I do not take drink or any other drugs. Everybody knows that." O'Connor, who was abused as a child by her alcoholic and drug-dependent mother, said she had been deeply wounded by Mr Waters's action. "I thought I was going to faint when I heard what he did. Coming from the family that I did and having been taken into care, my greatest fear is being told that I was unfit to look after my children. But I handled it. They assured me I was a good mother." The often acrimonious relationship between O'Connor and Mr Waters, 37, began in Dublin in 1995. He had written about the singer in glowing terms the previous year. They decided, soon after meeting, to have a baby. She insisted at the time they were not lovers, but friends in "a donor situation". She embarrassed him by suggesting he was no more than a sperm donor. They parted when she was pregnant and only spoke again shortly before the birth, which he attended. Mr Waters uses his newspaper column to complain about the unfair treatment he says is meted out to fathers, particularly those separated from the mothers of their children. Mr Waters, who was not available for comment yesterday, sees his daughter, Roisín, almost every week and takes her to Ireland on holidays. He is teaching her Irish to ensure she remembers her roots. O'Connor says she will sue Mr Waters for defamation in London and Dublin and is considering her legal options in relation to malicious reporting, which is a crime in Ireland. She said: "I will never interfere in his relationship with Roisín, but I will not let anybody do what he has done to me. He wants me to look like a hypocrite. I do not 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."