A LIMERICK mother has narrowly avoided a jail term after one of her children missed 15 days of school to date this year, but could be placed behind bars if there are further reports of absenteeism.
Judge Eugene O’Kelly at Limerick District Court heard that the mother was contacted by the school in Limerick city on March 18 last regarding “various unexplained absences” by the child.
The child had told a taxi driver who was dropping them off at school to leave them off before they reached the school, the court heard.
Three bench warrants were issued for the mother’s arrest to bring her to court on foot of the case taken by the National Education Welfare Board.
Solicitor Ted McCarthy said the mother is raising her children without support and is trying her best to organise her family.
Judge Eugene O’Kelly said he was “of the mind” to send her to prison, adding that “perhaps a spell in prison could show her the benefits of organisation”.
“As they [the children] get older, if they continue at this rate they’re going to be exposed to criminality,” he said.
Mr McCarthy said his client is now in daily contact with the school, and that her youngest child has a perfect school record.
“Unfortunately there are hundreds of single parents who have to make do and get their kids to school. Your client is not unique,” said Judge O’Kelly. He imposed a three-week sentence in both cases but suspended the custodial sentences for eight months. He outlined that these children “are entitled to receive an education” and to ensure that they attend school.