Girl avoids conviction after charity donation

A 17-year-old girl who set on a classmate at their training course because their families were feuding has been spared a fine and criminal conviction after she made a donation to charity.

A 17-year-old girl who set on a classmate at their training course because their families were feuding has been spared a fine and criminal conviction after she made a donation to charity.

The girl, who wants a career in childcare, had pleaded guilty at the Dublin Children’s Court on March 4 last to engaging in a breach of the peace, which happened at a centre in south Dublin where she was taking part in a training course, on a date last September.

Judge Aingeal Ní Chondúin then presiding had said she was going to make the girl pay and slated the attitude of the parents involved in the feud. “If they want to get into dog fights, they should think of what they are teaching their children,” she had said.

The girl was ordered to bring €104, a week’s earnings from her training course, to court to be donated to the Crumlin Children’s Hospital otherwise she would receive a criminal conviction and be fined €100.

Today, Judge David Anderson struck out the case against the girl once she had lodged the money in court.

During the girl’s hearing, Garda Simon Halpin had told Judge Ní Chondúin that the defendant approached another girl and “threatened to beat her up, at this point they had to be pulled apart”. Blows were thrown until the course co-ordinator told her to leave and that “she was not to return”.

The incident was related to an ongoing feud between two families from the Travelling community in south Dublin.

Defence solicitor Sarah Molloy agreed that there had been a feud but said lately it had calmed down and she told the court that the girl’s mother, who was present for the case, did not approve of her daughter’s behaviour.

Her client contended that the second girl had thrown a cup at here when they were in the training centre’s canteen. However, she was admitting that her behaviour “was unacceptable and amounted to a breach of the peace”.

Since then the girl has been receiving training through FÁS and after that hoped to go on to another course in childminding.

Judge Ní Chondúin had said the fact that alcohol was not a factor made the incident worse. “The parents are happy to encourage the children to do it. They are happy to go about fighting,” she said.

“I don’t know if they are working but it seems that it is natural for them to be going out fighting.”

She had also said that a recorded conviction would be detrimental for the girl’s future employment prospects. “Who would trust her with a child? That is what these families seem to be teaching them.”

She said that if they intended to “get into dog fights, I will make them pay”.

She had heard that the girl received €104 from FÁS, of which she hands up €50 to her mother.

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