Saturday, January 31, 2009

'House of horrors mother didn't get money from me'

A RIGHT-wing Catholic campaigner has said she did not "provide any financial assistance whatsoever" to the 'house of horrors' mother in her High Court action to prevent her children from being taken into care.

It's a week since the self-confessed "worst mother in the world" was sentenced to seven years in prison for a litany of offences against her six children including incest, sexual assault and wilful neglect.

Yesterday, in a statement issued to the Irish Independent, Mena Bean Ui Chribin (81) said the State should not seek "to scapegoat" a private citizen to "deflect blame" in the case. "I did not provide any financial assistance whatsoever to pursue or maintain any legal action in this case.

"Any help I provided at the time to the family involved was given in good faith. I am since shocked to learn of the revelations that have unfolded," she added.

The postmistress also criticised the authorities in her statement.

"I believe that the State authorities must address their shortcomings in this matter and not seek to scapegoat a private citizen in order to deflect blame. In this regard, I am seeking legal advice and I will consider pursuing any or all legal avenues open to me. I will not be making any further statements on this matter."

Ms Bean Ui Chribin, who is involved with religious group Ograchas Naomh Papain in Santry in Dublin, had told health officials that the Roscommon mother needed support and not intrusive action.

Social workers brokered a deal with the children's mother to place them in the care of her sister in 2000.

However, a month later, she went to the High Court and secured an injunction to stop the authorities from taking them.

It was only when one of the children made a serious complaint in October 2004 that the health board sought an emergency care order and removed them from the house.

Yesterday, locals in the community where the children lived in a squalid bungalow, said they were "very concerned" about the "negative portrayal" of the village. "We're being portrayed as being backward and all that kind of thing.

"I live on the other side of the village, I didn't know who was going in and out of the house but we all understood that they were being given the help of the health board," he added.

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(Source: II)