Parents charged with neglect and ill-treatment of their seven children


THE PARENTS of seven children charged with years of their neglect and ill-treatment were yesterday returned for trial.

At Ennis District Court, the two – who cannot be named for legal reasons – appeared charged in connection with the alleged neglect of the five girls and two boys from March 2001 to July 2010.

The two, with Co Clare addresses, are charged with having in custody or care children that they wilfully assaulted, ill-treated, neglected and abandoned, thus exposing the children and likely causing unnecessary suffering to their health or seriously affecting their wellbeing.

The charges are contrary to section 246 of the Children’s Act.

The father also faces two sexual assault counts against one girl between July 9th, 2004, and June 5th, 2005.

In court yesterday, Garda Irene O’Flynn served a book of evidence on both.

The two came into and left court separately yesterday and sat in different parts of the courtroom.

Solicitor John Casey, for the accused man, asked that legal aid be extended to cover a senior counsel and junior counsel in the Circuit Court, saying they were “very serious charges”. Judge Patrick Durcan extended the legal aid certificate to cover two counsels in the Circuit Court.

Mr Casey also asked that the man’s bail conditions be varied so that he could see two of his children. “I believe they are anxious to meet up with him as well.”

However, Judge Durcan did not vary the bail conditions after Garda Insp John Galvin said he had “reservations about that given the nature of the charge, as they are witnesses in the case”.

The Health Service Executive was also legally represented in court yesterday.

Judge Durcan told the man that if an alibi formed any part of his defence to bring it to the notice of the State within 14 days.

He also issued the same alibi warning to the mother of the children and granted legal aid for a junior counsel to represent her in the Circuit Court.

The father, in his 50s, and mother, in her 30s, face two charges of neglect and ill-treatment against one girl from March 28th, 2001, to April 24th, 2009. They face a third charge of the neglect and ill-treatment of two girls between July 10th, 2004, and April 20th, 2009, and the same charge against a fourth girl between October 17th, 2008, and July 22nd, 2010.

They are also charged with the neglect and ill-treatment of a fifth girl on dates between April 16th, 2005, and April 20th, 2009, and the ill-treatment and neglect of two boys between July 10th, 2004, and April 20th, 2009.

They were remanded on bail on the same terms – that they are not to have contact with the children, apart from the mother, who will have HSE-supervised weekly access to one child.

The two have provided separate addresses at which they will reside, and they are to sign on twice weekly at Ennis Garda station.

Judge Durcan ordered that the names of the adults and children were not to be published and he sent the two forward to face trial at Ennis Circuit Court on October 16th.