Friday 24 May 2019

Judge warns mother she'll be brought to jail by Paddywagon unless children's school attendance improves

Judge Patrick Durcan said 'There is too much codology that is costing this country an absolute fortune'

(Stock photo)
(Stock photo)

Gordon Deegan

A judge told a mother today she will be brought to prison by Paddywagon if there is not 100pc performance by her in ensuring that her two daughters attend school.

At Ennis District Court, Judge Patrick Durcan made his comment after hearing that the Co Clare woman’s 12 year old daughter had 53 absent days in the last school term before the holidays and her older sister didn’t go to school at all last year.

Judge Durcan told the mother: “I am getting sick and tired of this and your behaviour is becoming insufferable.”

Judge Durcan said that he wants 100% performance from the mother over the next two weeks on preparing her girls for a return to school.

He said: “If I am told that there is not 100pc, you will be leaving this courtroom by that door (reserved for prisoners being transported to Limerick prison)”.

He warned: “And if you don’t turn up for court, I will issue a bench warrant and I will instruct Insp Tom Kennedy to send out any number of squad cars to go out to try to find you and you can be brought to prison by Paddywagon."

He said: “This matter is not going to be allowed to drag on - and appointments with psychologists and home helps and home this and home that."

Judge Durcan said that he would review the situation in two weeks time and in August and September.

He said: “There is no reason why your daughters shouldn’t get to school and perform. I want 100% performance. There is too much codology that is costing this country an absolute fortune."

Judge Durcan said: “Everyone else in this courtroom is paying a lot of money in tax and it should be used for sensible purposes - not where people are dodging, ducking and diving their responsibilities."

He told the mother: “Whatever programme the Child and Family Agency say, that programme is to be carried out.”

On hearing that the girls’ mother is eager to engage with the services in order to get her children attend school, Judge Durcan said: “The main service available was an excellent school.”

He said: “A section of our society is becoming constipated from over-servicing. We have so much servicing and we have people that require servicing A to Z.”

He said: “This country can’t afford that and indeed shouldn’t be providing services that are not necessary.”

Judge Durcan said that one basic service has been missing “and that is the service by you to your children to ensure that they attend school”.

Solicitor for the Child and Family Agency (CFA), Kevin Sherry said that the 12 year old girl missed 46 school days and a further seven days were recorded as poor punctuality and leaving school early.

He said: “That is 53 days of absences and there was no underlying medical reasons or otherwise why there is such a significant level of absenteeism.

Mr Sherry said: “My client has significant concerns over the mother not prioritising her children’s education.”

Mr Sherry said that the older girl has effectively missed the entirety of the last school year and is due to commence Home Tuition.

Solicitor for the mother, Shíofra Hassett said that the mother is engaging with services and this will hopefully assist in the girls going to school in the next school year.

The 12 year old was in court yesterday and Ms Hassett said that she could speak to the judge if he requires.

Ms Hassett said: “The mother told me that she has extreme difficulty in getting her to attend school. She has been doing her best to get her to school. The child  has shown a marked reluctance.

Ms Hassett said that the child’s absence from school “has become an issue with teachers and fellow students”

She said: “The next school year is a fresh start and the mother is willing to engage with whatever service between now and September."

Judge Durcan adjourned the case to July 20th.

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