herald

Saturday 21 October 2017

Outrage as House of Horrors mum freed

THE mother at the centre of the 'House of Horrors' child neglect case was temporarily released from jail -- just days after health chiefs apologised to her children for the years of abuse they endured at their home.

The 42-year-old mother of six -- who described herself in the past as "the worst mother in the world" -- was spotted walking a short distance from her former home yesterday.

The woman, who is serving time after subjecting her children to a horrific litany of abuse and neglect, was released from the Mountjoy Women's Prison in Dublin for a number of hours for unspecified reasons.

She was accompanied yesterday by at least two prison officers at all times but was not handcuffed as she smiled and went about her business.

The late judge Miriam Reynolds sentenced her to seven years in prison in January last year after she pleaded guilty to charges of incest, sexual abuse, neglect and wilful ill-treatment.

At the time Judge Reynolds demanded to know why nothing was done to save the children from suffering at the hands of their evil mother.

The Irish Prison Service (IPS) last night refused to comment on why the woman was let of jail temporarily. An IPS spokesman said they did not comment on "individual cases".

However, local families were horrified to see the woman walking around just a half-hour's drive from the grimy house where the family lived.





Apology

One man said that he was "outraged" to see her after what she "did to her children".

"I saw her and I couldn't believe it. I know what she did to those children and to see her looking so happy and relaxed turned my stomach."

Her appearance in public came in the wake of an apology from health chiefs this week to the six children, who suffered years of abuse at the hands of their parents.

The woman's in-laws were seen in the same location yesterday and it is believed she had time to talk to them briefly.

The woman's husband is serving a 12-and-a-half year sentence for rape and sexual assault against one of his sons.

Health authorities admitted they failed to protect the six children, who lived in disgusting conditions in a squalid bungalow strewn with dead rodents.

The parents who carried out the horrific abuse cannot be named and shamed in order to protect the identity of their children who are trying to rebuild their lives. The six were left in the 'house of horrors' for many years as social workers failed to rescue them. They didn't establish that the children were starving and neglected.

Four of the children are still in care because they are minors.

All six informally met High Court Judge Mr Justice John MacMenamin and told him all they wanted was that "their voices be heard".

They questioned why their cries for help had fallen on deaf years.Residents of the village where the family lived have said the parents were "too big a monster" for anyone to tackle.

Social services first became aware of the family as far back as 1989, but it was not until 1996 that they became actively involved in the case.

An inquiry team, headed up by children's campaigner Norah Gibbons, found the concerns of the children were not listened to until they were removed from the family home and placed in care in 2004.

The probe laid bare a raft of failures of the HSE and Western Health Board.

The HSE issued an "unreserved and unequivocal" apology for its failures in the case.

hnews@herald.ie

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