Two-yr-old boy found 'badly sunburnt and smelling of drink'

A young mother, whose badly sunburnt two-year-old child was found with her in a car clutching a can of beer and smelling of alcohol, has been given an eight-month sentence for child cruelty.

The child 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 was told gardaí stopped the car, in which the drunk mother was a front-seat passenger, at 11.45pm, on the occasion.

The child was 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 said the child, who was in a back seat, had a six-pack of beer between his legs and an open can in his left hand. His breath smelled of alcohol.

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. 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 said while defendant was pleading guilty to all charges and admitted she was intoxicated, she denied the child was drinking beer.

But she admitted neglect and wished to apologise.

The solicitor said that, since being jailed, she 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.

This court report first appeared in the Irish Examiner.

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