A SCHOOLGIRL has described her mother as "vermin" after a court heard harrowing details of the mother's neglect of her seven children over a nine-year period.
The girl – now 17 – told Ennis Circuit Court that at the age of 10 she was left to care for her newly prematurely born sister.
Wearing her school uniform in court, she said: "I was 10 years old, how I was supposed to know how to look after her?
"I didn't know how to hold her or change her nappy. We didn't have proper things like a bottle, a steriliser, a cot."
The girl – a 'mother figure' to the other children – said that her mother "is cruel and evil". "She is very good at manipulating people," she added.
"She warned us when social workers came out to the house to say that everything was fine and if we didn't say that the social workers would take us away and burn the house down."
In the case, the 39-year-old mother pleaded guilty to the neglect and ill-treatment of the five girls and two boys from March 2001 to July 2010.
The woman's former partner and father of six of the seven children also pleaded guilty to the same offences yesterday and is to be sentenced at a later date.
In her victim impact statement yesterday, the girl said: "My belief to this day is that they had us to get child benefit . . . I had to look after my brothers and sisters while they went out drinking. I was beaten when things did not go right.
"What kind of parents are they? They used to go out drinking during the day, there was no food in the house. I used to ask the local shopkeeper to give us a few things until Thursday, because that was dole day.
"I used to leave my baby sister on her own with a bottle and come back at break time and see if she was okay. We would be left hours with no food, they never cared for us.
"Don't let my mother go free and unpunished. These people are vermin, they don't care about anyone except themselves, they should rot in hell."
Garda Roisin Ni Chathain said that alcohol was a huge factor in the case. Gda Ni Chathain added that the mother said that she was now sober.
Judge Carroll Moran said that it was a very difficult case and adjourned sentencing to February 25.