A 47-year-old mother has been sentenced to 24 years in prison with the final 16 years suspended for the cruelty and neglect of eight of her children over a seven-year period.
The woman, who cannot be named in order to protect the identity of the children, pleaded guilty before Galway Circuit Criminal Court to eight sample charges of assaulting, ill-treating and neglecting the children in a manner likely to cause unnecessary suffering or injury to their health contrary to Section 246(1) and (2) of the Children’s Act, 2001.
The offences took place at various locations around the country from May, 2002 to June, 2009.
The charges relate to two of the woman’s sons and six of her daughters.
Dete Sgt Kieran McNamara outlined the litany of physical abuse and torture which the woman subjected her young children to.
Imposing sentence, Judge Raymond Groarke said it was incredible that the abuse could go on for so many years in a community with little or no intervention. He said what was described by Sgt McNamara was a life given over to actions of neglect, abuse and torture of the children.
“These children were kept as prisoners by their mother. The girls’ hair was cut and they were not allowed to claim the dole lest they would have financial independence and run away. One child was beaten by the mother so that he would appear handicapped, so financial subvention would be given to the mother.
“Not only were the children treated like slaves, but they were viewed by their mother as economic units and she was able to use the children to the best economic purpose that she could.
“It’s quite impossible to know what the motivation is for this woman. She diverted the greater part of the family income away from the children and she has imposed a life sentence on them,” Judge Groarke said.
He sentenced the woman to three years in prison on each charge to run consecutively. He suspended the final 16 years of the 24-year sentence, stating there was no need to impose conditions as he believed the woman could no longer harm her children on her release.
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