At Ennis District Court yesterday, Judge Patrick Durcan sounded the warning to the girl after hearing that she missed a further day of school last Monday.
Solicitor for the Child and Family Agency, Kevin Sherry, said that no medical certificate or reason was given for Monday’s absence.
Asked why the girl was absent on Monday by Judge Durcan, the girl’s solicitor, Daragh Hassett said: “She is not good on a Monday but has been to school 100% of the time since... We made great progress in this case, before there was a fall-off in the girl’s commitment to go to school. Her parents are taking this very seriously and it is a very serious case.”
Up until December, the third-year student presented with an absentee rate of 77.9%, where she missed 53 out of 68 school days.
The judge invited the family into his chambers. He asked the girl what she found wrong with school, she said: “I don’t like it.”
He told her: “Part of my job is that I have to deal with these issues. If you don’t come up to the mark I have to take steps that affect your mum and dad and that means prison.”
Mr Sherry told the judge that there are no issues regarding the girl falling behind at school and that services are available to her.
Judge Durcan said that he would adjourn the case for a couple of weeks to see how the girl fares. He warned her: “I don’t do flus or colds so I want to see you in school every day... We are not dragging this on indefinitely. I will deal with this on April 15 and if there isn’t 100% attendance — I can’t be carrying this on.”