Castlebar court has heard how five children from a Turlough family have missed an average of 56 days from school per year per child for the past three years.
The family was first referred to the National Education Welfare Board in March 2009 and a school attendance notice was served on the parents in September 2010 – but it has had no great effect, Judge Mary Devins was told.
Up to the time the parents were summonsed to court, the eldest child missed 65 out of 74 schooldays, the second missed 52 out of 74, the third missed 35 out of 76, the fourth missed 28 out of 76, and the youngest missed 34 out of 76.
Since the summons was served, the oldest child has not attended school and the second has missed 11 out of 14 days, but the attendance of the youngest three has improved – they have missed two days out of 14 each.
The mother of the children said she was sorry for the situation and insisted she would be sending her children to school from now on.
"I'll do the best I can, unless they're sick or there's something more important," she said.
"Like what?" asked Judge Devins.
"Funerals or weddings," the mother responded.
"School comes before that," Judge Devins pointed out. She added that the mother owed it to her children to send them to school – they would be better off for it.
The judge adjourned the case to June 24 to see how things have moved on.