Parents told to pack bags for jail if daughter doesn’t go to school

Judge Patrick Durcan says he’s ‘deadly serious’ about consequences of non-attendance


A judge has told the parents of a 14-year old girl to bring their overnight bags to court on Friday if she doesn’t attend school this week.

At Ennis District Court, Judge Patrick Durcan told the pair he was “deadly serious” when instructing them to bring bags with them.

Addressing the girl’s mother in court, Judge Durcan said: “Unless your daughter is at school tomorrow – and today – she will pay the penalty by not having parents on Friday. I appreciate that you are doing your best, but I am going to have your daughter going to school.”

Solicitor for the Child and Family Agency (CFA), Kevin Sherry, said there has been no underlying reason told to the school why the girl has been missing for some recent school days.

Solicitor for the parents, Daragh Hassett, told the court the girl had made progress, but has taken a step back since her last day in court by missing school days. Mr Hassett said that the missed days were down to “pure obstinance” from the teen. “She is a very nice child to talk to and her parents are doing their level, level best. There are days when she goes in with some difficulty and some days she doesn’t go in.”

The third year student has an absentee rate of 77.9 per cent to December last, missing 53 out of 68 school days.