Absent schoolchild gives rise to concern

A Westmeath student is causing serious concern to the National Educational Welfare Board, Mullingar District Court has heard.

The teenager, who didn’t attend first or second year in school is, now 15 and has only attended school for 12 days out of the last 31 schooldays since her mother was last in court.

Judge Eamon O’Brien described the woman’s failure to send her daughter to school as disgraceful and outrageous.

Ms Patricia Cronin, on behalf of the educational authority said there hasn’t been enough progress since the last appearance in court, with the girl absent for 19 out of a possible 31 days.

Mr Louis Kiernan said his client’s daughter has been in school three days a week since the middle of January but had difficulty with attending on Thursdays and Fridays.

“For her own welfare she should be going to school,” insisted the judge, who said he didn’t know “what the child is doing all day at home.’

Mr Kiernan said transport has since been organized.

“She needs to go to school. It’s for the child’s own benefit,” he said, as he adjourned the case for two weeks to prove that she will attend every day.

The woman, who has pleaded guilty to the offence of failing to ensure her child attends school, could face a month in prison. However, Ms Cronin said the Board’s concern is that the girl gets her education.

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