Meanwhile, In Carlow



Monica O’Connor and Eddie O’Neill, who have home educated all of their six children

A woman who had been handed a jail sentence after she refused to pay a fine related to home schooling has been taken into custody.
Mother of six Monica O’Connor from Tullow in Co Carlow was taken from her home by gardaí this morning.

Mother who refused to pay home schooling fine is jailed (Newstalk)

Pic: Home Education Support Fund (Facebook)

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40 thoughts on “Meanwhile, In Carlow

    1. Rep

      Yeah, the Gardai should not be allowed do anything at all until all dealers and corrupt politicians are in jail.

  1. Rep

    In fairness, she refused to pay a fine relating to not applying for permission to have the education she provides to two of her younger children assessed. If you are going to allow people to home school their kids, you need to ensure that it is up to scratch. I don’t see a problem with the original fine and the escalation of it seems to be down to the parents.

    1. Caroline

      Have no real problem with home schooling but this was needless ideological grandstanding, so tough luck.

      Still, children will be getting a valuable lesson in standing up for what you believe in against the forces of the state. Hopefully they will choose their own battles more wisely.

    2. mauriac

      her point is that she has an absolute constitutional right and refuses to be “approved” by anyone..

      1. smoothlikemurphys

        Wouldn’t you prefer if someone was making sure that the kids were getting a proper education as opposed to this grandstander trying to act like she’s above scrutiny?

  2. bisted

    ….she should have taken that good job in the bank and sent the chiselers into the care of the priests and nuns. I believe she has charges pending for growing her own garlic.

  3. Ahjayzis

    No sympathy for a parent who can’t cut the apron strings enough to let her kids have their school years. I can’t imagine having missed out on the friends and adventures and happy memories that came from mine.

    1. Kieran NYC


      Plus a lot of people who are into homeschooling seem to be loaded up with some hardcore wackadoodle beliefs that don’t get taught in the normal education system.

  4. spider

    I’m still not sure under what principal she refused to sign the paperwork… Sound like she needs to serve some time. Unfortunately when she has a criminal record, she may not be able to foster needy children…

  5. Davwal

    No sympathy for a parent who can’t cut the apron strings enough to let her kids have their school years. I can’t imagine having missed out on the friends and adventures and happy memories that came from mine.

    You ASSUME they “missed out on the friends and adventures and happy memories” and we all know what that word does.

    Big assumption IMHO.

    1. well

      “I’m you’re mom, i’ll be your best friend!”

      “”You ASSUME they “missed out on the friends and adventures and happy memories”
      They will if all the other children are at school and not busy becoming unsocialised homeschoolers.
      Sure they might be able to spell better due to the increased attention, but will they learn to learn? how will they cope in a modern work environment? This isn’t just about having friends its about dealing with people you’ll have to work with that you wont get on with.

      1. Starina

        i was homeschooled for almost all of primary and secondary education and i’m grand. a little quirky, sure, but socially adjusted like anyone else.
        (cue the cheeky comments)

        1. Starina

          the one thing that i would say is recognisably different now as a 30-year-old adult is that i still find 40-hour-work-weeks to be painfully and unnecessarily long. i didn’t have the routine ground into me as a kid.

    2. will-billy

      plus one. imagine all the delightful schoolyard and teacher bullying and religious indoctrination they may have missed

      1. well

        “imagine all the delightful schoolyard and teacher bullying and religious indoctrination they may have missed”

        Have you seen the kinds of people that tend to homeschool?

        1. Anne


          “Caitlin Moran left school at 11. At 12, she won the Dillons essay competition. At 15, she won the Observer’s Young Reporter award. At 15, she had her first novel published. At 17, she was writing for the Observer and the Guardian. At 18, she got her own column in the Times. Which she still has. At 18, she became co-presenter of a television programme, Naked City. Which she still does. She is now working on a seven-part series for Channel 4, a new novel and two film scripts”

          1. smoothlikemurphys

            Wow. I guess that’s settled – the best way to ensure achievement in life is to ditch school altogether

          2. Anne

            Well not quite, but I like David McWilliams views on it –

            “This morning more than 117,000 young adults will sit down to do their Leaving and Junior Cert. And yes of course the sun is shining. They will have come out of a system which labels the notion of copying or collaborating as cheating. The students will not be allowed to talk or exchange ideas; rather the sum of their intelligence will be reduced to a massive national exercise in short-term memory retention.

            Give me another example in your real working life where a memory test is central to whether you succeed or fail? Yet we grade our children as we were graded ourselves on the basis of a giant memory test.

            I realise that this is the nature of standardised testing and achieving a standard is important. It is also difficult to see how else it could be done, particularly as the great merit of the Leaving Cert is that it is fair, everyone faces the same test at the same time without explicit favouritism.

            It has been a vector for massive social improvement in the past and smart kids can make great leaps if they have the sort of brain that can stake information in a certain organised way and get that information down on paper in a linear fashion.

            However, this is only one type of intelligence. This rather narrow gauge type of intelligence is rewarded. The standardisation process punishes other types of intelligence. The standardisation process elevates an academic type of brain. Anyone who has hung out with academics for long knows that this type of training can produce a bitchy, neurotic type of character more interested in narrow gauge point scoring than open ended, generous, general education.

            In addition, a system like this ensures that there are plenty of reasonably clever people who leave school thinking they are actually stupid. This can stigmatise people for a long time.

            More egregiously it also means that there are plenty of quite stupid people who leave school thinking they are really clever! This can elevate these types to positions in the real world for which they are not suited at all.

            All in all, the Leaving Cert is a relic, but like many relics it is given undue prominence and it becomes almost totemic in its significance long after this very significance has become anachronistic. However, a test based on pure individual memory in a world of open, crowd-based collaboration is surely past its sell-by date.”

          3. will-billy

            if this is the best we can do though anne? it is not fair and it is not a vector for social improvement either in my view it keeps the poor where they are and the middle classes safe from your typical working class kid rising up the pecking order because clearly wealthier well-adjusted kids will have access to greater resources to practise for a memory test, other things being equal

          4. Anne

            This is good too –

            “When I was in school, whether doing the Inter or Leaving Cert, our year was divided into six streams based on academic ability. Some of the lads in my year were truly smart people; they were not traditionally academic because they were actually too intelligent, yet they were discarded and labelled..

            The interesting thing is that this so-called streaming, this arbitrary conveyor belt that was supposed to prepare you for life, rarely survived the impact with the real world. Many of the lads who were overlooked in the sausage machine of the Leaving Cert have since thrived.”

          5. Anne

            What’s wrong with his style?
            Are you an inverted snob or something? :)

            I think he’s saying the same thing.. it’s not the best we can do.
            That it’s a relic.
            You’re right too of course, but I think that’s what his argument is.
            That it leaves a lot of intelligent kids behind.

        2. will-billy

          i should respond to this vapid stereotyping but presume you know all people who homeschool and so must defer to your obvious superiority

        1. Starina

          heck yeah. we used to do all my lessons and tests from 8 or 9am til noonish and then i’d play the rest of the day. i felt sorry for my friends in regular school.

        2. will-billy

          haha i was put in my own advanced stream in primary but had to muck in with the dopes in secondary. lost interest and grades steadily worsened :)

  6. Frilly Keane, Anyone?

    She may have been looking for an audience, but she was right to imo.

    From what I know of this story she is also a recognised Foster parent. That must surely have had her abilities and outcomes tested.

    Also. AFAIC the authorities would be better served bring the parents of truants to court

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