Galway truant returns to school after judge’s ultimatum over jailing of parents

Junior Cert student now attending regularly – albeit arriving late each morning

A 15-year-old boy is now attending school regularly ever since a judge warned him last month that he would keep jailing his parents until he went back to class. The boy had missed 91 school days out of 114 this year alone and had a long history of truancy.

The Galway teen, who is in his Junior Certificate year, had been asked by Judge Alan Mitchell at Galway District Court last month to decide which of his parents should go to jail because he was refusing to go to school. Judge Mitchell warned the boy he would keep jailing each parent for one month in turn until such time as he returned to school on a daily basis.

He gave the boy 24 hours to consider his ultimatum. The following day, the boy indicated through his parents’ solicitor, Valerie Corcoran, that he didn’t want to see either parent go to jail and that he would go back to school.

The matter was adjourned for one month to see if the boy complied.


In court yesterday, a solicitor for the National Education Welfare Board, which had prosecuted the parents for their son's non-attendance, said he was delighted to report the boy was now attending school every day, albeit he was always late arriving each morning.

Judge Mitchell said he was aware his handling of the case last month had attracted a lot of publicity but it had worked as the boy was now attending school every day. Hearing the boy was not present in court because he was at school, the judge told his parents: “He is doing much better. The better he does, the more it improves the situation going forward. He had to learn that his actions will have consequences,” he said.

Judge Mitchell agreed with Ms Corcoran and the Welfare Board to adjourn the matter further to ensure the boy continues to comply until at least this academic year is complete. He listed the matter for mention on May 7th, when a date will be fixed for finalisation.