Father of five gets four years for child neglect

Daughter tells of coming home from school to find baby alone when parents out drinking

The eldest victim 
described how she was ten
said she was 10 when she was left to care for her six-week-old sister. She said the baby slept beside her in a single bed and when she was unable to stop 
the infant
her crying during the night, the accused hit her in the face.
Photograph: Reuters

The eldest victim described how she was ten said she was 10 when she was left to care for her six-week-old sister. She said the baby slept beside her in a single bed and when she was unable to stop the infant her crying during the night, the accused hit her in the face. Photograph: Reuters

Tue, Jul 1, 2014, 09:32

A man who “sacrificed the welfare of his children for alcohol” has been given a four-year sentence at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court for the neglect and ill-treatment of six children.

The eldest victim said she was 10 when she was left to care for her six-week-old sister. She said the baby slept beside her in a single bed and when she was unable to stop her crying during the night the accused hit her in the face.

The now 19-year-old woman also told of coming home from school to find the baby alone strapped into a car seat when her parents had gone drinking. She also cared for her other siblings and forged her mother’s signature in shops in order to feed them.

The foster parents of some of the children, aged between two and 12 at the time they went into care, said they were unable to use cutlery, were not toilet-trained or able to shower or use a toothbrush.

The 54-year-old man pleaded guilty to eight counts of child cruelty against six children on dates between 2001 and 2010. He is the father of the five younger children.

His former partner, who is the mother of all the children, has already received a four-year suspended sentence on the same charges.

“In effect the children were rearing themselves without any parental guidance,” Judge Mary Ellen Ring observed.

She imposed a four-year sentence with the final year suspended.