The letter from Damian Brass, sent to Saoise on 13 January, appeared quite hopeful at first. It seemed Damian Brass was taking Saoirse's concerns at least seriously enough to meet with Dolores in the near future.
[Editor's note: For a clearer understanding of Damian Brass' letter, see Damian Brass Responds. ]
We can't say why Damian Brass wrote a letter instead of calling Dolores to set up a meeting with her; we can speculate that because of Ethan's extreme control over her phones and access to her that Damian Brass found it as impossible to reach Dolores by phone as her brother, her other children and the Public Health Nurses did. Saoirse responded to Damian's letter on the 25th, outlining more concerns for Dolores' safety, encouraging his help to have a meeting with Dolores that would include the HSE Elder Abuse Senior Case Worker, Geoffrey Blair, and offering to provide him with more evidence of Ethan's abuse towards his client:
[Address Redacted] Co. Galway
[Phone number redacted]
January 25, 2010
Mr. Damian Brass
Brass and Jaggers Solicitors
Re: Your ref: [Reference redacted]
Dear Mr. Brass:
Many thanks for your letter of January 13, 2010 and I appreciate your response. I understand if you cannot release the name of my mother's attorney. My hope was that your providing it would allow me to fill him/her in on my current concerns about my mother's health and wellbeing.
I am grateful that you'll be checking in and ensuring my mother's personal business remains hers. Perhaps you might consider an additional meeting with mom, Nathaniel, myself, and the HSE representative to discuss her safety and wellbeing.
Again, I believe mom is under extreme duress from Ethan. Friday was the two-year anniversary of my father's death. I was unable to reach my mother on either landline or mobile either Friday or Saturday. Sophie assures me via text things are fine, that my mother has been up since 5 am with a vomiting bug and is 'looking forward to going up to Dublin.' Nathaniel has managed to chat with her and says she now states she's not heading to Dublin. It's hard to ascertain the truth because of what we fear is Ethan's influence over her responses.
It seemed out of character for my mother not to hold an anniversary mass for my father, or graveside visit. My other siblings and myself were surprised. We believe the omission was at Ethan's insistence as he is afraid family gatherings will provide Mom with a chance to talk freely.
Interestingly, about the same time as you received instructions from my mother to send me the registered letter of Jan. 4, a letter was received by the HSE and forwarded to the Elder Abuse Representative. My mother states in that letter that she doesn't want her children to stop by and visit, as I did on December 3 for a cup of tea.
This letter, once again, focuses on powers of attorney: In this case two independent non-family members. Is this something you can confirm? Your original letter clearly states there was one.
I don't understand why powers of attorney have anything to do with the present worry about my mother's safety and wellbeing. Nor, I might add, does the HSE Elder Abuse Representative.
Also in this letter, my mother has requested available information from the HSE as to the reasons why they visited her so that she can pass the information along to you. The representative told me he'd explained to her he was doing a well being check. I'd be happy to provide his contact information if you'd prefer to communicate with him directly.
Once again, I believe that this letter was created by Ethan and possibly signed by my mother – at his insistence. As you recall from my earlier letter, I suspect my mother's instructions to you regarding the letter sent to myself and my siblings was also at Ethan's urging.
If you desire further confirmation of Ethan's history that leads us to have such concerns, I would be happy to facilitate this.
I look forward to your response.
Damian Brass wrote to Saoirse the next day, after meeting with Dolores. Their correspondence crossed in the mail:
In this letter Damian Brass confirms he is Dolores' attorney named on the Enduring Power of Attorney. He also confirms that Dolores is as sharp as ever. We note again that this was never in question by any of Dolores' children, relatives, friends, GP, or anyone else for that matter. Yet it repeatedly crops up in correspondence from Ethan and purported letters from “Dolores”; letters that are believed and strongly supported by evidence to have been generated by Ethan. It also crops up later in 2010 in correspondence by Damian Brass to government bodies, and in a letter to Conor Maxwell threatening him after a failed attempt to visit his mother. This was of course an area of great concern to Saoirse, based on the reports from the HSE that Ethan was falsely and illegally claiming Power of Attorney over Dolores, and Ethan's past efforts to have his uncle declared a Ward of Court with Ethan having control of all his affairs and assets.
With the confirmation that Damian Brass is the sole attorney named in Dolores' EPA, we again note the discrepancies in both Ethan's letter to the Bray Gardai, and in the letter sent to the Community Welfare Officer in Wexford from “Dolores.”
Two days later Damian Brass responds to Saoise's letter that crossed his in the post. It does not encourage Saoirse:
With this letter Damian Brass ignores the previous information received by Jaggers and Brass, ignores Saoirse's fears and concern for her mother's life, seeks no additional information or evidence of the abuse his client is suffering, and joins Dolores' priest, the Gardai, Dolores' GP, her other children, and all the others who turned away from helping Dolores despite the obvious need and moral obligation, in our view.
Saoirse tries to rouse Damian Brass one more time in a letter to him a month later:
Address Redacted, Co. Galway
February 26, 2010
Mr Damian Brass
Jaggers and Brass Solicitors
Dear Mr. Brass
I spoke with the Wards of Court on February 24, in an effort to understand the steps needed to be taken regarding an Enduring Power of Attorney.
I remain deeply concerned about my mother's safety and wellbeing, especially noting my mother's only brother is also encountering problems in contacting her by phone or visiting. I also note Ethan, AKA [Redacted, one of Ethan's other names Brass was familiar with ], is now identifying himself as her carer, and Power of Attorney.
I know you believe this is a mere case of family ‘friction.’ I beg to differ. There are years of abuse here, as you'll note in the paperwork my sister Sophie filed with your offices back during the sale of [the Maxwell family house] by mom and dad. Based on the conversations I have had with other parties and paperwork I am collecting, I firmly believe my father and mother have been bullied and abused over the years. I am sure this is continuing which is why no other family members are able to contact or visit with mom.
You mentioned in your original letter of Jan. 4 that 'some time ago," an Enduring Power of Attorney was completed. Upon what grounds was this made? Who was granted Power of Attorney and why? When was it made? As her eldest daughter I would like to request a copy of the Enduring Power of Attorney.
It's my understanding from the Wards of Court on Wednesday, that upon the execution of an Enduring Power of Attorney, a Notice of Execution has to be sent to two people - One of whom has to be a next of kin. I believe it was likely my father who is now deceased. That leaves one.
In the meantime, Ethan indicates that there are two, independent non-family members with my mother's Power of Attorney. It is likely they are his two friends, Lloyd Montgomery and [name redacted]. I would like some clarification here, as the Wards of Court indicate this will be a problem when registering it with the courts. All 10 of my mother's children will have to be put on notice: Most of whom will have plenty to say based on their years of intimidation and bullying and witnessing the same endured by my mother and father. I am trying to understand this, especially in light of the few siblings who were advised via registered post in January that my mother had an Enduring Power of Attorney. None of which I might add, alleviated or addressed my concerns about my mother's safety and wellbeing. The Wards of Court would be happy to discuss this with you should you need further clarification.
I remain hopeful some sort of intervention can take place that will ensure my mother's continued independence is maintained, her remaining children are able to visit and call on the phone, and her quality of life is not compromised as it currently is.
Many thanks for your time.
Saoirse's attempt was unsuccessful. There was nought but silence from Damian Brass.
[Editor's note: We have skipped a bit ahead here with this last letter from Saoirse, in order to finalise the correspondence to and from Damian Brass during this timeframe. His hand will not be seen again in the narrative of Dolores' last year (barring new information) until August 2010. Far from mitigating the increasingly dangerous situation Dolores was in, actions Damian Brass will take in August and September effectively isolate his client Dolores further, and even strenghten Ethan's control of her life. We will of course visit this when the narrative reaches that timeframe.
The next page of A Winter's Tale looks at events of late January towards the middle of February 2010. We call it See No Evil, Hear No Evil. As always, we seek and encourage anyone with knowledge of Dolores' life and/or the events presented here to contribute to this site. Memories, anecdotes, photos and documents are more than welcome. Clarification, correction and alternative views are encouraged and welcomed. Submissions ]