Contrasting judicial sentencing is lazy reactionary journalism we think it’s worthwhile pointing to contrasting sentences that caught our eye this morning.
The cases both involve women, mothers to be precise, who have come before the Irish courts for the manner of their parenting. The first a woman in Blanchardstown who kept her 3 young daughters out from school for 28 days in the term from September to December. Pleading that the two primary school and one secondary school girls had had a variety of illnesses including ‘slapped cheek syndrome’ which is a contagious flu-like disease as well as bullying of one girl that meant she was afraid or upset to go to school, the woman’s legal representative asked for leniency and the court’s understanding.
The woman received 28 days in prison. Judge McHugh said the board and support services had done everything they could. He said he had “no hesitation” in sending the mother to prison.
In contrast we read about a woman who neglected her seven children so badly and for so long that they have all been put in care. When the four youngest were placed in foster care,
“their foster-mother said that the four were very frightened, dirty, malnourished children. They did not know how to eat at the table, didn’t know how to use cutlery and were not toilet trained”.
Judge Moran said the woman
“had deprived her children of a childhood which will have long-lasting consequences for them”. He said the woman had committed the “unnatural crime” of neglecting her own children. “Everything in the home was driven by the parents’ urge for alcohol and the children were under threat and strict instructions not to speak to social workers.”
The eldest daughter, now 17, described her mother as “vermin”. The girl, while 8, had to act as a surrogate mother to her newborn sister after the baby was abandoned by their mother.
The ISPCC and Fergus Finlay of Barnardos are urging the DPP to appeal the suspended 7 year sentence.
Suspended sentence for 9 years of abuse and neglect.
The inadequacies of the Irish criminal justice system will never cease to amaze me.