A young mother who left her young child in a car, has been given an eight month sentence for child cruelty. The young mother in question had left her two-year-old child in a car clutching a can of beer and smelling of alcohol, the infant was understood to be badly sunburnt when it was found by gardai.
The infant was taken into care after the incident, which occurred on June 8, 2013, in Ballybunion, Co Kerry, and was subsequently placed with his grandparents who continue to look after him, a court heard.
The case came before Judge James O’Connor at Listowel District Court where the mother, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was also sentenced to five months’ imprisonment for having a knife with intent to cause injury.
The court heard that gardaí had stopped the car, in which the drunk mother was a front-seat passenger, at 11.45pm, on the occasion.
The infant was believed to have been in a wet nappy and also complained of being hungry. Four adults, all drunk, were in the car which was being driven up a one-way street.
Supt William Leahy told the court that the infant, who was in a back seat, had a six-pack of beer placed between his legs and an open can in his left hand. Supt Leahy also told the court that the infants breath smelled of alcohol.
Supt Leahy also stated “He was wearing only shorts and socks and was very sunburnt. He smelled of urine and it was clear his nappy had not been changed for some time”. The court also heard that when gardaí searched his mother, they found a flick-knife concealed in her bra.
The court was also told the woman, from Limerick, is currently serving a sentence for a number of other charges not detailed in evidence.
Solicitor Pat Enright for the defendant said while the young mother was pleading guilty to all charges and admitted she was intoxicated, she strongly denies that the infant was drinking beer.
But she admitted neglect and wished to apologise.
The solicitor also went on the record to say that, since being jailed, the young mother in question had turned things around, was doing well in the prison system and was drugs-free.
He also said she was in regular contact with her family and was looking forward to building a relationship with her child when released.