Parents fined at County Limerick court over child’s school absence

Norma Prendiville

Reporter:

Norma Prendiville

Newcastle West court

Newcastle West court

EDUCATION is no burden for anyone, Judge Mary Larkin said in Newcastle West court when she fined the parents of a Rathkeale girl €200 each for failing to send her to school.

A notice had been issued to the parents in March last year, the court heard, because out of 107 school days, their daughter had missed 72.

However, since the parents were summonsed to court, a Túsla inspector explained, her attendance had definitely improved. She had missed just 13 out of 81 school days, he said, and since the last court appearance, she had missed just three days out of 20.

The girl had now completed three years of secondary school, he said, and had sat English and Maths in her Junior Cert.

The dramatic improvement in attendance was a very welcome development, solicitor for Túsla, Kevin McSharry, said.

However, he added: “The fact that we are here in the first place is a matter of concern.”

There had been seven home visits and eight school meetings involved in the case, he explained.

The parents had taken court matters very seriously, their solicitor Michael O’Donnell said.

Noting that the parents are from a Traveller background, Judge Larkin pointed out she had yet to have somebody bring in Pavee Point to argue that education was not important for their community or children.

“They say nothing except that education is important,” she said.

She fined the parents €200 each.