Young children were 'tired, hungry and scared'; mother accused of neglect at Cork District Court

Young children were 'tired, hungry and scared'; mother accused of neglect at Cork District Court

A four-year-old boy and his one-and-a-half-year-old sister were described as being in a ‘horrific’ condition when gardaí first saw them in a taxi and their mother appeared to be “out of it”.

These allegations were made today in the trial of the children’s 33-year-old mother who is accused of wilfully ill-treating, neglecting, abandoning or exposing the children to unnecessary suffering after 8 p.m. on August 10 2017. She denied the charge at Cork District Court.

The mother in this case is not identified in media coverage as this would identify the children whose identity is protected.

Diarmuid Kelleher, solicitor, said there would be evidence that the accused was not intoxicated but was ill at the time of the disputed incident on August 10 2017.

Three gardaí and an ambulance paramedic testified about the condition of the children when they encountered them in the taxi. Two other witnesses for the prosecution – a social worker and a taxi driver were – were not available to give evidence today. Judge O’Leary heard from the first four witnesses and adjourned for a fortnight when a date will be set for hearing the remainder of the case.

Garda Alan Hurson said that while the accused had no smell of alcohol but was highly intoxicated.

“The condition of the children was the worst I have seen since joining the organisation. They had to be changed out of their clothes. The nappy of the child was so bad it came over the side walls of the nappy.

“Both children were dirty, not just from that day but (appeared) they had been in their clothes for a couple of days. They were tired, hungry, they were scared as well. They were both in pyjamas when I was dealing with them.” Mr Kelleher, solicitor, said the children’s mother would say that they had been in nursery and in school earlier that day.

Garda Eric Brannigan said of the mother, “She appeared to be very incoherent, she was frothing or foaming at the mouth.” Garda Mary Jane Somers went to the defendant’s house that night and said of the accused, “She appeared to be out of it. Her eyes were rolling in her head. Her house was in poor condition.” She said there was old food and dog food around the floor and very little fresh food. “I asked her where the children were and she said, ‘With the taxi driver’,” Garda Somers testified.

Paramedic, John Murray, said the children were unkempt, scared, hungry and “looked sad, lonely and upset.”

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