Tusla to examine issues in child cruelty case

Mother sentenced to 4½ years for beating, starving and neglecting children


Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, is to examine how children at the centre of a criminal trial for cruelty and neglect were left with their mother for five years after coming to the attention of child-protection services.

A 39-year-old mother was sentenced to 4½ years in prison yesterday at Galway Circuit Criminal Court, for beating, starving and neglecting seven of her children over a five-year period.

Sentencing the woman, Judge Karen O’Connor said of particular concern was the fact that the children had remained under the radar of the authorities for so long.

The trial heard the children had first come to the attention of social workers in 2006 when two of the girls were placed in emergency care for a month. While social services liaised with the family in the years afterwards, the children were not taken into care until May 2011.

The judge also described the mother’s attempts to blame her eldest daughter for her offending behaviour as a disturbing factor in the case.


The events occurred at six different locations between September 2006 and May 2011. Charges relating to an eighth child were withdrawn from the jury at the end of the trial.

The judge imposed concurrent sentences, ranging from a year to 4½ years, on all charges.


Tusla chief executive Fred McBride said the main focus in the case was on working with the children and ensuring they received all the necessary support and care. “The agency will be requesting that the national review panel examine the case to identify any issues,” he said.