A member of An Garda Síochana had to force his way into a house in the early hours of the morning in response to children crying out for help and today their mother confessed to child cruelty.
Three little children were found locked into bedrooms without lights. On the floor of one room was a potty full of urine.
No adult was present in the house at the time.
These were the stark facts outlined by Sergeant Gearóid Davis at Cork District Court today.
Eugene Murphy, defence solicitor, said that rather than making defence submissions everything he wanted to say on the woman’s behalf was set out in lengthy reports showing how she had turned her life around.
Judge Olann Kelleher said he would read the reports and deal with sentencing on Friday. The judge expressed concern that she had a previous conviction for child cruelty.
The 30-year-old woman, who is not named in coverage of this case as it would identify the children, pleaded guilty to one charge in respect of each child.
Each charge states that on August 5, 2018, she wilfully neglected (child’s name) in a manner likely to cause unnecessary suffering to the child’s health or seriously to affect her wellbeing.
“On August 5, 2018, at approximately 2.30am, Garda Patrick Buckley was on mobile patrol and was called to check on the welfare of a number of children in a house (a few miles outside Cork city).
“It was alleged the children were in the house on their own while the mother was on her way to a friend’s house in (elsewhere in the county).
“Garda Buckley discovered that the mother was in custody at a garda station (on suspicion of drink driving).
“Garda Buckley knocked on the door and he identified himself as a member of An Garda Síochána and he could hear children call out to their mother and they were asking for help.
“Garda Buckley asked them to come down to the door so he could show them his uniform. One of the children shouted they couldn’t open their door. Garda Buckley entered the premises by force.
“He went upstairs and observed two bedroom doors closed with two hook and eye latches on the outside of them, at the top of the door frame.
“Garda Buckley opened the first door and observed two young (children) in the bedroom with no lights and a potty on the floor with urine in it.
“Garda Buckley then turned to the second bedroom and found a young (child) in a cot. Both bedrooms had no lights working in them.” The children were aged from seven to two.
In the course of the outline of the evidence, Judge Olann Kelleher asked by way of clarification, “The bedroom doors were locked so the children could not get out.”
Sgt Davis confirmed this was the case.