Judge orders arrest of parents after girl misses every day of first year

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A judge has ordered the arrest of both the mother and father of a young girl who did not progress into secondary school and has missed every day of first year.

The parents were due to appear at Dublin District Court today accused of neglecting their child’s education.

The prosecution against the west Dublin couple has been brought by Tusla, the Child and Family Agency.

They had been served with summonses and the prosecution had its first listing before Judge Anthony Halpin.

However, the man and woman were not present when their case was called.

Solicitor Stephanie O'Meara, prosecuting, told Judge Halpin the parents had been personally served with the summonses.

She said their daughter had not progressed into secondary school.

The child had missed “100 per cent of first year in secondary school”, it was alleged.

Due to the lack of engagement an application for a bench warrant was made in respect of the parents.

Judge Halpin noted their non-attendance and acceded to the request to issue bench warrants for both, to have them arrested and brought before the court.

A parent could be fined up to €1,000 and jailed for a month if convicted of breaking the Education (Welfare) Act for not complying with an official warning about a child’s school attendance.

It is alleged the mother and father contravened a school attendance notice sent earlier.

The notice is a warning that legal action would follow if a child did not attend school regularly.

Before doing this, the Child and Family Agency's educational welfare services must make reasonable efforts to consult with the parents and the child.

Under the Act the minimum school leaving age was raised to 16 years or the completion of three years of post-primary education.

Meanwhile, two other truancy-related prosecutions against parents were adjourned today by Judge Halpin who noted they needed time to obtain legal representation.

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