Parents face jail as son misses 243 school days
A father and mother are facing a jail sentence and a fine after a judge heard their child missed at least 243 days of primary school over a three-year period.
The married couple were prosecuted by the Child and Family Agency following concerns about the high number of days of school missed by their son. Neither the mother nor father, who moved to the UK last year, attended the hearing at Dublin District Court.
The father phoned an education and welfare officer before the hearing to tell him that this was due to his "bad back".
The officer told the court that their son missed 72 out of 182 days in the 2014-15 school year, 65 out of 182 days during the 2015-16 year, and 106 days in the 2016-17 school year. Only about 20 days could be accounted for.
It was their ninth hearing in relation to the boy's lengthy absences from school.
The prosecution began in January last year and the couple attended the first three hearings only, Judge John Brennan heard.
Education and welfare officer Eamonn Regan said the couple moved to the UK without notifying the school. The man later claimed his son had been enrolled in a named school in England. However, that school never heard of the boy.
Authorities in the UK were alerted and have made contact with the parents who are now seeking to home-school.
They could be fined up to €1,000 and jailed for a month if convicted of breaking the Education (Welfare) Act.
Judge Brennan adjourned the case until a date in April.