The parents of a 14-year-old girl, who has attended school on just 26 occasions since September 2012, may be fined up to €1000 and could face jail time for breaking section 25 of the Education Welfare Act.

A court has heard that the parents who are from the Travelling community were approached by the Child and Family Agency after their daughter missed 94% of her designated school days, but were apparently unconcerned.

According to Educational and Welfare officer, Jennifer Redmond, the teen’s mother said in response to the state’s concerns: “[She] is a Traveller girl and she would not be attending any school in England or at home.”

The Child and Family Agency told the court that they had supplied application forms for a new school placement on the request of the girl’s parents, but went on to say “To date they have not returned that form to the school.”

Judge John O’ Neill presiding over the case said that there is no excuse for the teen, who is due to sit her Junior Cert exams this year, to have missed school and plans to inform her parents of the possible repercussions.

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