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'House of horrors' mother due for early release today


The mother at the centre of the notorious Roscommon 'house of horrors' case is due to be released from prison today.

The 45-year old, who described herself as the 'worst mother in the world', will walk free from Dochas Women's Centre at Mountjoy Prison after serving five years in jail.

The woman, who was assaulted a number of times in prison by other inmates, was jailed in January 2009 for the maximum term of seven years for her horrific crimes of incest, other sexual abuse, neglect and wilful ill-treatment of her six children at the home in Co Roscommon, dubbed the House of Horrors.

The woman, who had a quarter of her sentence reduced for good behaviour, described herself as the worst mother in the world as details of her criminal abuse and neglect of the children emerged in court.

They were not fed properly, their clothes were not washed and the range which heated the home was only lit once a month.

There were dead rats and mice inside and outside the council-owned house.

Their mother, who suffered from depression and asthma and had a drinking problem, would routinely go to a pub at around 6pm, leaving the children alone, only returning home drunk in the early hours of the morning.


One of the girls described the home as scary when her mother was drunk. The child was bullied at school and other children called her smelly.

In an interview with gardai in 2006, the mother admitted that her children were often blue with the cold, only had dinner twice a week and had lice on their heads and bodies.

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She pleaded guilty to 10 charges including forcing her teenage son to have sex with her.

"It was a house of horrors – with bells on," the mother said.

When gardai arrested her, she admitted the offences and said she was sorry.

"My kids were sexually abused, not washed and not fed – I am the worst mother in the world and I don't deserve to get my children back," she said.

The woman, who was 40 at the time, became the first female in the history of the State to be convicted for incest.

At her sentencing hearing, the late Judge Miriam Reynolds imposed concurrent sentences of up to seven years – the maximum term available under an incest conviction.

The judge suggested that new laws may be needed to deal with incest cases involving mothers.

Roscommon TD Denis Naughten has tabled new legislation, which was accepted by the Government last month, to increase the sentence for incest by a female from seven years to life.

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