Limerick Courthouse, Mulgrave Street
THE mother of a young girl who has an almost 100% rate of absenteeism at her school in the city has been jailed for 28 days.
At Limerick District Court this Friday, solicitor Muiris Gavin, representing Tusla, said the seven-year-old girl has been absent for 162 out of 164 school days since September.
“It’s an extremely serious matter,” he said adding that no efforts are being made by the girl’s parents despite the efforts of a number of different agencies.
The woman and her husband, who cannot be named for legal reasons, were both prosecuted and the matter first appeared in court earlier this month.
Despite her parents being warned on the previous court date, the first class pupil has missed six school days since and arrived 40 minutes late on another date.
Judge Marian O’Leary was told the couple – who are both Romanian – have a number of other children who are attending school ‘regularly’.
Mr Gavin said Tusla was concerned there may “something more sinister” regarding the seven-year-old and he informed the court there are concerns the girl may not be enrolled in school next September.
Solicitor John Herbert said the schoolgirl had been brought to school “every day” but that she had refused to go in.
“She’s seven, she’s a child they are the parents,” replied Judge O’Leary.
Speaking through an interpreter, the child’s mother said the school will not take her daughter as she is “constantly crying” and will not go in.
“I go every morning but they send me home,” she said.
She told Mr Gavin she was not aware of several multi-agency meetings or any of the ten home visits which were arranged in recent months.
The woman offered no explanation as to why she did not attend a meeting in her child’s school at the end of May.
Judge O’Leary sentenced the mother to the maximum 28 days’ imprisonment saying it was “in the interests” of the child.
The case of the father was adjourned, for review, on June 27 – the day after school finishes for the summer.
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