Couple face jail as their son (13) hasn't been to school for four years
A Dublin couple are facing prosecution and have been warned they could be jailed after a court heard their 13-year-old child has not been in school in four years.
The man and woman initially faced prosecution at Dublin District Court after their elder son, who is in his mid-teens, failed to return to school from September 2014 to May 2015. He went back to school in September last year but additional charges were brought in relation to their younger son's education.
The prosecution has been brought by the Child and Family Agency (CFA). The couple could be fined up to €1,000 and jailed for a month if convicted of breaking the Education (Welfare) Act for not complying with an official warning about school attendance.
Dorothy Ware, solicitor for the CFA, told Judge John O'Neill the 13-year-old had been out of school for the past four years. The parents say the child is too ill to attend, but they would not allow the CFA permission to verify this with their doctor. Initially they had signed consent forms but later withdrew their consent, she said.
"You are running out of time, I have little options open to me, I could decide to send you both to jail and your kids could be sent into care," Judge O'Neill warned the parents. He also said a welfare report furnished to him showed the mother had been "totally unco-operative".
The mother claimed her child had a medical condition and had been traumatised and "we have been downtrodden". She denied she and her husband had failed to provide medical information to the CFA, claiming they themselves were waiting to obtain medical reports.
Judge O'Neill said a full hearing would take place in March and warned the parents it was imperative they get the reports.