Your sister should make a Will, appointing a testamentary guardian. The testamentary guardian would be appointed on foot of an application to the Probate Office. She
...she (the TG) would then be entitled to look after the child, in other words, to assume custody. If the child's father is also a guardian (I assume that this is the case and that his name is XXXXX XXXXX Birth Cert), then he would be equally entitled to assume custody. If the two guardians were not able to work out an arrangement by agreement, then one of them would make an application for access or sole or joint custody to the District Court.
If the two guardians could not work out an arrangement that was suitable, then the judge would have to make a decision that he considers is in the best interests of the child. If the father has a documented and treated history of alcoholism, that would certainly be a factor to be taken into account, depending on how he was coping with it at that time. Also the child's voice would be heard via an independent psychological report and possibly a guardian at litem.
At this stage, I would urge your sister to take the one step that she can to ensure that her wishes are respected: 1. Get her sister's consent to be appointed as testamentary guardian 2) Go to a solicitor and make a Will appointing her as testamentary guardian. 3) make sure that her executor(s) and family members know where the Will is stored.
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