Review into Galway neglect case to ask why children were left with mother

Review into Galway neglect case to ask why children were left with mother

Update11.15am:The head of Barnardos in Ireland Fergus Finlay has said it would be preferable to see better funding for social workers than to try to pick up the pieces after abuse or neglect cases.

He said: "We still don't invest enough. We don't have enough social workers; we don’t have enough managers per social worker. We spend nothing in Ireland on prevention.

"We're always happier to pick up the pieces (and) wring our hands in despair after another child is damaged or destroyed, but we will never say let's put a tuppence into prevention."

Earlier:

The Child and Family Agency Tusla is to review why the children at the centre of a neglect case in Galway were left with their mother for so long after they came to the attention of social workers.

The 39-year-old woman, who was convicted of 29 charges of cruelty and neglect of her children, was jailed for four years yesterday.

During her trial last January, the court heard distressing details of how she used to subject her children to regular beatings with leather belts and wooden back-scratchers.

She used to pour washing-up liquid down the throats of two of her sons and would leave them in the care of strangers for days while she went drinking.

They often went without food. Neighbours used to feed them and buy them clothes.

Child protection services became involved with the family in 2006 but some of the most serious allegations did not come to light until five years later.

The children’s Victim Impact Statements were read out last week. They described feelings of abandonment, inadequacy and fear.

One of her sons said he didn’t think his life was worth living when he was aged seven, and felt like a punching bag.

Independent child welfare consultant Kieran McGrath said the children were moved across different teams of social workers, which made it more difficult to form a clear picture.

"The family moved around a lot, which is one of the things that makes it more difficult to get a clearer picture about what's happening in a particular family," he said.

"When they move areas, it means different social workers are dealing with them in the different areas and that makes the whole thing more difficult."


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