A young woman told a jury yesterday that shortly after she was taken into care by HSE social workers in 2011, then aged 14, she was allowed spend a night with her mother who plied her with drugs until she got sick.
The 39-year-old mother, who cannot be named in order to protect the identity of the children, who are now aged between 18 months and 19 , has pleaded not guilty before Galway Circuit Criminal Court to 44 charges of child cruelty.
The eldest daughter, now 19, gave her evidence via video link to the court yesterday. She said she ran away from home when she was 14, in April 2011, because her mother was so abusive.
She and her siblings were then taken into care the next month and were placed with various foster parents.
The girl said her mother and her then partner, who was not her father, were heavy drinkers and other people, who were much older than her mother, would often stay at their house.
“There would be a crowd of very drunk people in the house and our mother would be one of those people who would be drunk. They were all alcoholics. Some of them were nice, but some of them were horrible,” the girl said.
The children missed a lot of school and her younger sister was frequently kept at home by their mother to mind the babies “when she was too hungover or couldn’t be bothered” to mind the younger children herself.
Shane Costello, prosecuting, asked if her mother gave the children breakfast, for instance. She said the children were left to get their own breakfasts.
“She would be physically violent to any one of us ,” the girl said.
Paul Flannery, defending, said his client would deny the more serious allegations being made by the witness.
He told the girl her mother would give evidence that while she did slap the children she had done so to chastise them.
The trial resumes today.
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