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Drunk mother left baby screaming in bitter cold

A MOTHER who left her three-month-old baby outside "in the depths of winter in sub-zero temperatures" has been given a 12-month suspended sentence at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

The 38-year-old woman left the child crying hysterically in a buggy outside her home while she stayed inside drunk.

The woman, who cannot be named to protect the identity of the baby, pleaded guilty to neglecting her child on January 7, 2009 outside her home.

Garda Rory O'Mara told Roisin Lacey BL, prosecuting, that he received a report of an incident at the woman's address at around 9pm.

"The child was outside in a buggy, fully clothed, with a blanket on. The temperature outside was well below freezing," he said.

"The front door of the house was open and I heard shouting coming from inside."

He said the accused was shouting "I don't want that baby. It's not my baby", and went outside to have a cigarette.

"The house was in a poor state with cigarette ash everywhere, and a putrid smell coming from the sitting room," said Gda O'Mara.

He agreed with defence counsel Patrick Marrinan SC that the woman's partner had had a seizure earlier in the evening and she had said she could not cope "with her partner's seizure and the baby crying".

The woman and her partner had been drinking earlier that day in a nearby pub and she admitted that the last time she had fed and changed the baby was at around 1.30pm that day.

Gda O'Mara said he found the woman's partner in a house next door "highly intoxicated" and he had refused to return to the house while the accused was still there.

The woman came out and took cans of beer from the buggy. Gardai brought the baby to the patrol car to bring her to her grandmother's home.

"She was drunk and unable to cope," said Mr Marrinan. "And she recognises the seriousness of the offence."

"Judge Patrick McCartan said: "It is quite clear the accused is not someone who is in a position to offer care and comfort to young children.