HSE to be told of parents’ drink and drug crimes

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The HSE is to be informed by the Courts Service in Clare of all convictions relating to serious alcohol and drug abuse and dealing against parents of young children.

From the Irish Examiner

At two separate district court sittings in Ennis last week, Judge Patrick Durcan directed that convictions relating to a married father who was dealing heroin from the family home and a mother of two described in court as “a serial drunk” be forwarded to the HSE.

The ISPCC yesterday welcomed the initiative.

After jailing Martin Joyce, aged 22, of 113 Dun na hInse, Ennis, for six months for dealing heroin from the family home, Judge Durcan directed that his previous convictions be forwarded to the HSE.

Judge Durcan made a similar direction relating to the previous convictions of Amanda Hayes of Inis Ealga, Shannon, who was convicted of being intoxicated in a public place ”” the Oakwood Arms in Shannon ”” on Jun 9 last.

Judge Durcan said: “The message must go out loudly and clearly from this court that if the parents of young children commit serious crime and involve themselves in activities, particularly in activities of this nature, then this court will put the obligation on the HSE, as the carer of children, to ensure that every step is taken to ensure that those children are protected.”

He made a similar order in relation to Hayes: “The court has a duty of care beyond the offence before the court to see that children are looked after.

“It would be very hollow if we as a people allowed constitutional amendments be enacted, Ministries of Children be established and setting up new procedures, new quangos to protect children while we have first-hand knowledge that children who are in the care and control of serial drunks and that in my view those children must be protected.”

Judge Durcan added: “I order that the HSE are made aware of all the facts in this case and I will do it in every case.”

Addressing Hayes, Judge Durcan said: “I’m ordering that the HSE examine your affairs urgently because someone with two small children shouldn’t be rolling around drunk on a Sunday afternoon.”

A spokeswoman for the ISPCC said yesterday: “The ISPCC agrees that any information that would lead to a concern about a child’s safety and welfare needs to be passed on to the relevant authorities to ensure intervention and support.”