A TEENAGE victim of cruelty and neglect yesterday tearfully pleaded with a judge to send her mother to jail. The girl recalled how she was beaten with a poker and sweeping brush and was forced to care for an infant sibling when she was eight years old.
In her victim impact statement, the girl said, “I turned into a mother for my brothers and sisters aged eight.”
At Ennis Circuit Criminal Court, the girl fought back tears as she recalled the neglect and physical assault she suffered as a young child.
She pleaded with Judge Carrol Moran not to let her mother and her ex-partner “get away with it. All my life no one would listen to me… please listen to me. These people are vermin. They should rot in hell,” she added.
The children’s 38-year-old mother pleaded guilty last September to eight charges of child neglect contrary to Section 256 of the Children’s Act. Her former partner yesterday also pleaded guilty to eight charges of child neglect.
The offences, which relate to six children, took place on dates unknown between March 2001 and July 2010 in two areas of Clare.
Harrowing details of the children’s “appalling” upbringing were heard as evidence against the woman was outlined in court.
Garda Roisín Ní Cathain told the court that the children often went without food and clean clothes. The court heard how a fridge and freezer in the family home were locked with a bungee cord.
On one occasion, the court heard, one of the girls returned home to find her parents had gone to the pub and left her baby sister tied to a car seat outside the house. The girl recalled in court how she was forced to leave school at the break to check on her baby sister.
The girl told how the infant child was left to sleep in her bed. The girl said she was beaten if the child cried at night. The court heard the couple drank alcohol on a daily basis.
The girl recalled how she would ask the local shopkeeper to give her food until her mother’s social welfare payment came through.
The children have since been taken into care by the Health Services Executive (HSE). The court heard that on meeting the children, a foster parent described them as “very frightened, dirty and malnourished”.
She told gardaí that the children did not know how to eat food and were not toilet trained.

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A native of Ennis, Ronan Judge completed his Journalism and Communications Diploma course at Griffith College. The Clare People is his first newspaper appointment. Contact Ronan on [email protected]

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