Health care student left home after drinking alcohol with her children in car, court heard

A health care student drove home drunk from a friend’s house party with her young children in the back of the car, a court has heard.

Lawyers for the mother of two told the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court that it was the woman’s “literally first time in years” and that she had arranged for an overnight stay with her children.

Defending, Peter Le Vert Biel said that the people had gone to bed when one of the children became upset. The lawyer said the woman drove a taxi, but then realized she didn’t have the money to pay the fare and then decided to “get in that car” and go home.

She said that now she knows that her behavior in the night was reprehensible and that she regrets it.

Garda Lee Kelly told the court that she saw the woman’s car rolling down the street and driving on the wrong side of the road at around 4 p.m. on September 1, 2019.

He said the woman was initially cooperating, but Gada Kelly smelled alcohol and saw that she was slurring her words. When he asked her about it, she became abusive towards Gardai.

She said she started yelling at her two kids that “it’s your f***ing fault” and yelling to get out of the car. The children were around four and six years old and the woman cannot be named to protect their anonymity.

He said GDA Kelly said the children were crying and screaming and pleading for their mother not to be arrested.

Gardai waited until the woman’s father reached the roadside scene to pick up the children and then took the woman into custody. He later refused to get a respirator and continued to abuse Gardai.

A Tusla investigation later treated the incident as neglect, but did not identify any other child welfare issues and the children are still with the woman.

The woman (34) pleaded guilty to two charges of child neglect contrary to the Children Act, 2001 and refusal to supply a sample contrary to the Road Traffic Act, 2010. His other two sentences are for offenses of public order.

Mr Kelly agreed with Mr Le Vert that the woman apologized to Gardai for her behavior at night.

Mr Le Vert said his client was a single mother who began studying for care, including palliative care, in 2019. She said that she is an extremely caring sweetheart who went to her friend’s birthday party on the night of the crime and didn’t plan on driving home.

The lawyer asked Judge Melanie Greeley to consider invoking Section 100 of the Criminal Justice Act 2006, which allows the court to exonerate an accused person from impeachment.

He said pleading guilty to child neglect could prevent him from employment as a caregiver and that “God knows we could use more caregivers at this point”.

Judge Greeley said the offense was of a serious nature. He postponed the finalization till the next 9 February.

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