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Mother-of-six faces prison not paying fine after failing to be assessed for homeschooling

Monica O’Connor from Carlow will spend ten days in Mountjoy.

Image: school books via S

Updated 11.09pm

A MOTHER-OF-SIX IS facing a ten-day prison sentence after failing to pay a fine after she was not registered correctly to homeschool two of her children.

Monica O’Connor from Carlow has homeschooled each of her children, but she did not apply for the necessary assessment to educate some of them.

She, along with her husband Eddie O’Neill, were convicted of failing to send their children to school, but did not pay the fine.

O’Connor was speaking to The Marian Finucane Show on RTÉ Radio 1 [starting at 22.40min]  this morning while waiting to be contacted by gardaí to make arrangements for her to serve the sentence in Mountjoy Prison.

She said that parents are asked to prove that they can provide a certain minimum standard of education for their children, but questioned the need for this given Article 42 of the Constitution.

This says that “the primary and natural educator of the child is the Family and guarantees to respect the inalienable right and duty of parents to provide, according to their means, for the religious and moral, intellectual, physical and social education of their children”.

O’Connor argued that Irish law has “trampled on the rights of families to the extent where you must apply [to educate your child]“.

The fact that you’re assessed for a constitutional right means you can be denied a constitutional right.

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She noted that she and her husband were properly assessed for and had taken in 22 foster children over the years.

O’Connor said that the situation in Ireland with homeschooling is “a stick with no carrot”, claiming that it saves the State a “fortune” in capitation grants.

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Nicky Ryan

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