Arrest warrant for Limerick couple charged with not sending child to school

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Judge Carol Anne Coolican

A JUDGE has ordered the arrest of parents who failed to turn up in court to answer charges of not sending their child to school.

Judge Carol Anne Coolican heard that defendants Mike and Margaret Thomas of Lower Main Street, Rathkeale, were not in court in Newcastle West to say where their child is currently being educated or whether their child is in formal education.

School Inspector Derry O’Donovan told the court that the case goes back to August 2018.

“The last time Ms Thomas was in court, she gave a solemn undertaking that her child would attend school. But she seems not to be living locally anymore,” he told the court.

Judge Coolican heard that the matter has been before the District Court seven times now.

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“I cannot say they have co-operated because the haven’t,” Mr O’Donovan said.

He told the court that a person from the UK had made contact, claiming that the child was being educated in the UK.

“But we have no proof of this and we tried to make contact again with this person by phone but could not contact him,” Mr O’Donovan said.

He added that “if the idea is that people can disembark and go to England then send emails saying that their children are being educated there, then the system has failed.”

The couple’s solicitor, Michael O’Donnell, asked if the matter could be “put back until December, as that is a time when they are likely to be returning.”

Judge Coolican noted that the couple were not in court on July 5 either, the last occasion that the matter came before her.

“They can’t just leave the country while there are court cases pending for four years,” she said, issuing the arrest warrants.