Ria Is 15 Years Old And Is The Youngest Of Five Children. She Lives In Castlebar With Her Mum And Stepdad Terry. Her Sister Joan Is 18 Years:

Ria is 15 years old and is the youngest of five children. She lives in Castlebar with her Mum and stepdad Terry. Her sister Joan is 18 years and is a student in Sligo IT and her other sister Maura aged 21 has two children aged 1 1/2 and three years. Mark is Terry’s son who is 22 and is currently serving a three-year prison sentence for a litany of offences. Susan, Terry’s other child is 16 and lives with them also. She attends the same secondary school as Ria. Step Dad Terry is unemployed and Ria’s mum Mary works part-time as a home help.

Ria’s biological father now resides in England following a marital breakdown when Ria was 11 years old. Ria and her sisters have sporadic contact with their biological father and this causes conflict in the home.

Maura has recently moved back from Longford with her two children following a break-up with her partner.

Ria has always been a good child and up until the age of 14 caused her parents no bother. She breezed through primary school and made the transition to secondary school with ease and appeared to settle in well. She went through puberty in 6th class and even though she was the 1st in her class to do so, she showed no signs of being bothered by this. In fact, she quite liked all the attention she got from the second and third-year boys in her area.

Ella and she were great friends and had known each other since they were five. They came from the same area and shared similar interests. However, after a year in the local secondary school, Ella’s parents decided to send her to a boarding school in Athlone. Ella and Ria were both devastated. Ria felt very lonely in the few months following but told nobody. She found the second year much harder without Ella. She didn’t have a connection with the other girls in the class like she had with Ella. She kept in contact via social media but it was not the same as having her around in person every day.

Ria started hanging around with two other girls Lane and Katie and a boy David from the other side of town. She didn’t have that much in common with them to start but it was better than being alone she felt. After going out with them on a few occasions she discovered they were into alcohol and David smoked a few joints regularly. Ria had been told of the dangers of both at school and at home but she was curious to discover what effect taking them would have on her. If most of her peers were doing it and they seemed fine then what would the harm be?

By the third year, Ria would describe herself as a regular drinker, drinking most weekends. She also dabbled with ecstasy and likes the bun she gets from it. Her schoolwork started to deteriorate. Ria’s mum and her sister Joan had been noticing changes in her behavior recently too.

From achieving mostly As and B’s in first and most of her second year she would now have to drop to pass level in more subjects for the upcoming junior cert. Ria’s mother went to her parent-teacher meeting at the beginning of 3’d year where she had her suspicions regarding her poor school performance confirmed by all her teachers without exception.

They all said the same thing. Ria is a bright girl with huge potential academically but they felt the gang she was hanging around with was a bad influence on her. Mary couldn’t wait to get home and give her a good telling off and tell her to cop on. Mary herself is dyslexic and has struggled all throughout her life as a result.