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Dublin: 5°C Saturday 19 June 2021

Woman avoids being sent back to jail for identifying her son in childcare proceedings on social media

It is a criminal offence to identify anyone who is the subject of childcare proceedings.

Image: Sasko Lazarov/RollingNews.ie

A WOMAN HAS avoided being sent back to prison after giving a judge an undertaking to stop putting information on social media identifying her son as a party in childcare proceedings.

The woman, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, brought High Court judicial review proceedings after the District Court jailed her for nine months for putting information in the public domain identifying the boy as being somebody who has been placed in the care of the Child and Family Agency.

It is a criminal offence under Section 31 of the Childcare Act to identify any person that is the subject of childcare proceedings before the courts.

After having been given permission by the High Court to bring proceedings challenging the sentence, the woman was released from prison where she had spent several days.

She had been granted bail after having given the District Court an undertaking not to post any material identifying the boy.

Mr Ronan Munroe SC, for the Child and Family Agency, told Mr Justice Senan Allen that she had breached that undertaking on several occasions and had posted more material on social media.

He said there were also concerns about material posted by other people connected to the woman.

The Child and Family Agency brought an application to have the woman attached and committed to prison due to her alleged failure to comply with her earlier undertaking, and also argued she was in breach of her bail conditions.

The woman, represented by barrister John Berry, told the court she accepted she had breached the orders and gave an undertaking she would now comply with the orders not to post any material that would identify her son, who is the subject of a long term care order.

The woman accepted that she had been unhappy with the nature of access to her son but said that for the next month she was willing to agree to supervised access following a recent meeting with the agency’s staff.

She told the court she had previously had a problem with heroin but added that until now her voice had not been heard.

She also told the court she was unhappy with the foster family her son had been placed with.

The judge said he was formally revoking her original bail would renew it immediately in light of her undertakings.

He said the case involved matters with a long difficult history and ordered that all offending material had to be taken down.

He told her that if there were any more posts that identified her son she would most likely have bail revoked again and would be put back in custody. He warned her he was giving her an absolutely last chance.

The case will return before the courts in October.

Comments have been closed as the case is before the courts.

About the author:

Ray Managh

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