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Mother of children believed they had been taken to swimming when former husband texted to say they would not be back 
A man who abducted his children and kept them out of Ireland has been jailed for nine months. 
Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard a woman believed her ex-husband had taken their children swimming when he texted her to say they were in another country and would not be back. He kept the children away from their mother for four years. 
Sergeant Ian Lambe said the man and woman had been having marriage difficulties at the time. He told the court that over the years gardaí and various services had been in contact with the man trying to find an amicable way to return the children. 
The man pleaded guilty to four charges of taking his children out of the country without consent at Dublin Airport on November 8, 2014. 
The man, who cannot be named to protect his children’s identities, has no previous convictions. 
Judge Cormac Quinn sentenced the man to two year’s imprisonment, but suspended the final 15 months on condition that he keep the peace and be of good behaviour and engage with the Probation Service for three months post-release. 
Judge Quinn said the case was aggravated by the seriousness of the offence, the young ages of the children, the length of time they were out of the jurisdiction, the significant element of deception and pre-planning and the effect the offence had on the children and their mother. 
He said the mitigating factors in the case were the man’s age and personal circumstances, his early pleas of guilty, his psychological difficulties and the fact he is a foreign national. 
At an earlier sentence hearing, Sgt Lambe told Fionnuala O’Sullivan BL, prosecuting, that in October 2018 the children’s mother contacted him to say her ex-husband would be returning with them to Ireland. 
Sgt Lambe said the man met him voluntarily the day after arriving back to Ireland. He said the children, who are now aged from eight to 15 years, have been returned to their mother. 
The mother and children did not wish to make victim impact statements. The maximum penalty for the offence is seven years on each charge, the court heard. 
The sergeant agreed with lawyers for the man that he had been “extremely anxious” about the matter. Sgt Lambe agreed that the situation went too far while the man was abroad and he couldn’t turn the clock back. 
Sgt Lambe further agreed that the man had since had no contact with his children, apart from a phone call with his son for a birthday. 
Sgt Lambe added that he did not think the man would come to Garda attention in future. 
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