EXCLUSIVE: Children in Offaly living in 'filthy' house 'unfit to live in'






EXCLUSIVE: Children in Offaly living in 'filthy' house 'unfit to live in'

Court report

Two people came before Tullamore District Court last week charged with wilfully neglecting and exposing their children in a manner that was likely to cause them unnecessary suffering or injury or likely to affect their well-being.

In his evidence to the court Sgt James O'Sullivan said that on June 21, 2019, gardai executed a warrant under the Drugs Act at the house in Offaly.

They found the house was filthy and unfit to live in. Sgt O'Sullivan said gardai found dirty nappies left lying around and human excrement.

In the bedroom twin children were asleep under dirty blankets. There were baby bottles lying around with mould inside. In addition there was no electricity in the house.

One of the defendants was lying on the bed under the influence and there was a clear and significant risk to the children, said Sgt O'Sullivan.

Aisling Maloney, defending solicitor, said the twins had been five weeks premature.

Their mother was just 21 and found it difficult to care for twins and had self-medicated. The other defendant had also turned to drugs.

Ms Maloney said they had described that day as the worst moment of their lives when they agreed to put the children into the care of the children's grandparents.

However, she said both defendants were making progress and were now able to see their children unsupervised for one and a half hours a week.

The mother of the children has had help for her mental health and has completed the TripleP parenting course, she said.
Their social worker gave evidence that she had become involved in the case in October 2019. She said progress had been very good. They have kept the house clean and the fire lit. They are speaking to an alcohol addiction counsellor every week and the defendants are working very well together she told Judge Staines.

She said the plan going forward was to consider the grandparents becoming guardians of the children as they will make sure they are safe.

She said the defendants were hoping to get their children back.

There is now electricity in the house and food in the presses and they are making a huge effort to keep the house tidy.

The social worker also said it had been the worst thing to happen in their lives.

She showed Judge Catherine Staines pictures of the house as it is now.

Judge Staines described as ''appalling'' the conditions these ''unfortunate children'' were living in,

She said it was important that the children are now safe with their grandparents. She put the case back for a probation report to January 21, 2021 to make sure they are still engaging with the services.

In addition she said both defendants will have to go for drug and urine tests on a regular basis.