The children were nearly 7 and 5 1/2 at the date of the alleged wrongful removal. They had lived in both Ireland and Australia. The parents were married and had joint rights of custody.
In February 1989 the family moved to Australia, planning to return to Ireland in 1996. In June 1992 the father left the family home by agreement.
In September 1992 the mother informed the father that she intended to seek a divorce. Her new boyfriend subsequently moved into the family home. On 30 September 1992 the father took the children to Ireland, his State of origin. The mother applied to the High Court for the return of the children.