Mother of nine avoids jail in school attendance case

first_imgFacebook Twitter by Andrew [email protected] up for the weekly Limerick Post newsletter Sign Up A LIMERICK mother narrowly avoided prison for failing to ensure three of her nine children went to school after a Circuit Court judge said he struggled to find an appropriate ruling that would bring stability to the troubled family.Judge Tom O’Donnell was told that the eldest of the nine children, a boy now 16, missed every school day since September and had long periods of absence over two previous school years.The case also involved two younger siblings, a girl aged 14 and a boy aged 11, who also had long absences from school over similar periods.After eleven previous appearances, the mother was given three concurrent 14-day jail sentences for breaches of the Education (Welfare) Act 2000 at the District Court last July.This Tuesday, she appealed the severity of the sentence at Limerick Circuit Court.Solicitor for Tusla, the child and family agency, Muiris Gavin, said that despite the huge resources being deployed to the family, matters had not improved and there were fears for the other children who were not part of the prosecution.On each of the previous ten appearances at both courts, the mother had been given a chance to improve the situation.Mr Gavin told Judge O’Donnell that the eldest boy turned 16 last November and was no longer compelled to attend school. He missed 122 out of 183 school days during 2013/14 and in 2014/15 missed 95 of 182 school days.Three prosecution were brought in respect of the boy and his 14 year-old sister, who missed 59 days out of 164 in the 2014/15 school year and their younger brother, who missed 64 out of 183 days in the 2013/2014 school year.Defence solicitor Eimear Carey, said the woman was “struggling on her own” with regard to the eduction of her children. There was a “complex volatile relationship regarding her dealings with the children’s father and when things were going well, there was an improvement”.Judge O’Donnell said the dilemma he faced was that if he failed to jail the mother, the younger children would be deprived of their education.However if she was in prison, other agencies would have to be called in to deal with the family situation. The fact that she was a mother of a large family was not a defence as to her responsibilities.Addressing the woman, he said: “I don’t want to sent you to prison, I don’t believe any judge would want to send you to prison. It is your children’s future that is at stake and a lack of education will cost them in life.”Stating that he did not disagree with the sentence handed down by the District Court, he suspended the three concurrent sentences for 12 months. Linkedin Print Previous articleAttack on firefighters sparks new call for legal protectionNext articleTwo and a Half Tenors in concert Staff Reporterhttp://www.limerickpost.iecenter_img Email Advertisement NewsMother of nine avoids jail in school attendance caseBy Staff Reporter – January 15, 2016 689 WhatsApplast_img read more