A TEENAGE victim of child neglect has urged the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to appeal the suspended sentence imposed on her mother last month.
The 38-year-old woman received a four-year prison sentence, suspended for seven years after pleading guilty to eight counts of neglect.
In handing down sentence at Ennis Circuit Criminal Court, Judge Carroll Moran said the woman “lacked fundamental parenting skills and most significantly she lacked empathy for her own child”.
The offences, which relate to seven children, took place on dates unknown between March 2001 and July 2010 in two areas of Clare.
The eldest child is now 17 while the youngest child is now 4.  
Patrick Moylan, a solicitor acting on behalf of the eldest child, has sent a letter to the Office of the DPP requesting that the case be appealed by the DPP to the Court of Criminal Appeal “on the basis that the sentence handed down by Judge Carroll Moran was unduly lenient given the horrific nature of the neglect in this case”.
Mr Moylan writes that he had been instructed by the teenager. The letter states that the eldest daughter is “very distressed” by what she feels to be the undue leniency of the sentence imposed on her mother.
The absence of any previous convictions was cited by Judge Moran as a mitigating factor in sentencing.
However, the letter, seen by The Clare People, states that the woman had previously been before the courts after pleading guilty to making a false report to gardaí.
The woman was initially sentenced to six months in prison but, on appeal, the presiding Circuit Court Judge gave the woman the benefit of the probation act.
Mr Moylan writes that the “circumstances of this previous matter should have been brought to Judge Moran’s attention” prior to sentence.
The letter details how in her victim impact statement, the eldest child recalled how she was left to look after her prematurely-born baby sister when her parents went out drinking.
The teenager stated there was insufficient food in the house while she and her siblings were subjected to physical and mental abuse.
The eldest daughter also called on Judge Moran to impose a custodial sentence on her mother. 
“The circumstances in this case are harrowing and appalling,” the letter states.

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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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