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Garda tells court she found child wandering street with his drunk mother at 5am

A school principal said the child had complained of being hungry in school.

Image: Shutterstock/Philip Lange

A DISTRICT COURT judge was asked to put a supervision order in place for a young boy whose mother was out drinking with him for over nine hours.

The child’s social worker said the boy had missed a number of days in school and the mother could not be contacted.

The mother was not present in court despite the social worker stating that she notified her by letter – both hand delivered and by post.

The principal of the school appeared in court to give evidence. The principal said that the mother had not been engaged in her son’s education and development.

On occasions, he said he had to sign consent slips for the child to go on school day trips and swimming lessons so he would not miss out.

Despite numerous attempts, he said the school could not make contact with the mother. While the child’s homework is attempted, the principal said it is never completed. “Sometimes it is not done at all.”

Going to school hungry 

The school principal said the child had told his teacher he had not eaten since the day before. However, he said it was not unusual for children attending his school to present while hungry.

The child was described as having low self-esteem and has recently been “sad in himself”. There has also been a deterioration in his behaviour.

Giving evidence, a member of An Garda Síochana said she met the mother in the early hours of a Sunday morning.

A taxi flagged her down while she was on her routine patrol at 5.55am. The driver said he had seen an intoxicated woman wandering the street with her child.

The garda said she found the woman and her child. She said the woman was clearly intoxicated and was reluctant to give her details.

“She was unsteady and constantly slurring her words,” said the garda.

There was a strong smell of alcohol. The garda said she eventually admitted to consuming alcohol and gave her name to the garda.

Abusive to gardaí 

She said the mother became abusive and the child was visibly upset. The child said he had been out since 8.30pm that evening, said the garda.

“The child kept telling the mother to stop being cheeky to the gardaí,” said the garda. The court was told the mother was then brought the the garda station where contact was made with a family member who came to collect the woman and her son.

At this point the garda said the child was very upset and was crying. She made the decision not to escalate the situation and as there was another adult capable of minding the child, she returned the two adults and child to the woman’s home.

The social worker told the court she had raised the issue of alcohol abuse with the mother.

She said she only drank five cans a day, more on the weekends. She didn’t seem to understand that issue with her alcohol use.

She told the court that a supervision order should be put in place.

The judge said he was satisfied under reasonable grounds that the child was being neglected. He said the incident where a child is out until 5.55am with a parent who is intoxicated speaks for itself.

He made a supervision order for a period of six months. This allows that for a child to be monitored who is deemed to be at risk. The child is not removed from the parent’s custody.

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