Limerick mother told she may spend Christmas in jail

David Hurley

Reporter:

David Hurley

Judge Eugene O'Kelly
A LIMERICK city mother has been warned she may spend Christmas in prison if her daughter’s poor attendance record at school does not improve.

A LIMERICK city mother has been warned she may spend Christmas in prison if her daughter’s poor attendance record at school does not improve.

The woman, who can’t be named, was brought before Limerick Court yesterday 
after a bench warrant for her arrest, which was issued in May when she failed to appear in court, was executed.

The woman is being prosecuted by the National Education Welfare Board (NEWB) over her teenage daughter’s poor attendance record at school.

Solicitor Muiris Gavin told the court there are ongoing concerns as the child his only attended 23 out of 45 school days since September.

Referring to a report, which was submitted to the court in February, Judge Eugene O’Kelly noted that the girl was “alarmingly behind her peers” due to her non-attendance at school.

Solicitor Ted McCarthy told the court his client was disputing the NEWB figures which show her daughter has missed more than half of all school days in the current 
academic year.

He added that the mother suffers from personal difficulties which make it difficult for her to ensure her daughter’s attendance at school.

However, Judge O’Kelly said no matter what the woman’s difficulties are “it is not good enough that her education suffers”.

The judge said he was considering imposing a custodial sentence and he warned the woman may “have to make arrangements for her family over Christmas”.

Adjourning the case until December 9, Judge O’Kelly requested the attendance of the school principal on the date so he can receive “up to the minute evidence”.