A sentencing hearing for a mother who has been found guilty of 29 charges of assault, neglect and abandonment of a number of her children has been adjourned until Monday. 

The 39-year-old woman - who cannot be named for legal reasons - was found guilty of the charges by a jury at Galway Circuit Criminal Court in January.

A former partner of the woman is also being sentenced after he pleaded guilty to five charges last December.

The charges arose from an investigation which began in May 2011, after social workers made an unannounced visit to a house in the west of Ireland.

There they found infant children in the care of their young siblings, with two intoxicated and unrelated men also in the house.

The children were subsequently taken into care and details of the treatment they had been subjected to began to emerge.

This prompted a Garda investigation, which culminated in over 40 charges being brought against the woman.

The assault, ill-treatment, neglect and abandonment happened at a number of locations in the west of Ireland over a five-year period between 2006 and 2011.

Seven children were subject to the abuse. Six of them gave evidence by video link during the trial.

They outlined how there was a continual absence of food for them to eat; how they were constantly subjected to adults excessively consuming alcohol in the family home; how their clothing was regularly dirty and how they were often left unsupervised.

In all cases they outlined incidents of physical violence against them or their siblings.

The children were slapped, punched or assaulted by their mother. One had her head held under water in a sink.

On another occasion the woman took two of the children from her car because they had spilled a milkshake after a birthday party. She then drove the car at the boys, causing them to jump into the ditch.

A consultant plastic surgeon gave evidence during the trial regarding scars on the back of one of the children. These were noticed when he was taken on holidays while in care.

The court heard the scars were consistent with those that would be left on someone beaten by an implement like a back scratcher.

Several of the children missed a considerable time in school and two of them gave evidence of having being made swallow washing-up liquid by their mother.

Other charges related to events other siblings witnessed being perpetrated on their brothers and sisters.

There was no evidence of physical abuse of one of the younger children but the court heard that he had been left alone with siblings on a number of occasions.

The children's mother admitted administering corporal punishment when questioned by  gardaí.

She said she was not being violent and instead claimed she was disciplining her children. She denied the charges against her.

The woman's co-accused was a former partner of hers and the father of two children. At the start of his trial last December he pleaded guilty to five charges.

The 48-year-old admitted to beating some of the children, said he would regularly have been drunk in their company and that he had problems with alcohol for most of his life.

He pleaded guilty to separate assault charges against three of the children. The court heard he had slapped, punched and hit them with a back scratcher.

He also pleaded guilty to two charges of neglect in relation his own children.

The man gave evidence this afternoon during which he apologised.

He said not a day went by when he did not regret his actions. He said he saw his own two children regularly and said they were "his life".

He said he had "taken a good look" at what he had done after the children were taken into care and wished to apologise for his actions.

Shane Costello, Senior Counsel for the State, requested that psychiatrist and psychologist reports in relation to two of the children be submitted as evidence, along with their victim impact statements.

He said he was making this application in respect of a 2012 EU directive.

Judge Karen O'Connor acceded to this request.

In her victim impact statement, the eldest child said her mother made her blood boil. She said she had been unable to talk about the impact of her experiences for many years.

The girl said she was physically scarred by the abuse she had suffered.

She said she still felt intimidated by her mother and her friends. She was afraid to go out at night in case she would meet them.

The girl said that the quality of her life had "changed massively" since she had been taken into care.

Before that she had no boundaries. She had been given alcohol and drugs by her mother at 14 years of age and got in trouble at school.

She said she did not see her siblings as much as possible and this upset her. She said she now had a fantastic life with her foster parents.

The court also heard major issues of mistreatment and neglect had been identified during therapy with a second child.

The report details the ongoing emotional impact on the child as a result of abandonment and betrayal she had suffered.

The child had strong feelings of anger of having to go through the court process as a result of her mother's decision to deny the charges.

The child is said to be always apprehensive. The report says the child had shown great resilience given the experiences she had been subjected to. However, the legacy of her adverse care will remain with her well into the future.

A letter written by a third child stated he was always afraid when he lived with his mother. She was always drinking. He felt sad that his brothers and sisters did not live together, especially at Christmas.

He said he was angry that his mum did not want to see him and that his education had suffered. The boy stated that he did not know what a mum was supposed to do before he came into care.

A report in respect of a fourth child was not read in court but Judge O'Connor was told that the crimes had a profound and enduring impact on his psychological, emotional and educational development.

A letter from a fifth child - now aged 13 - outlined how he felt scared and anxious because he was never loved by his mother.

He said he felt humiliated when he lived with her.

He said he felt his life was not worth living when he was seven years of age. He had been used as a punching bag by people who were always drunk and took out their frustrations on him.

He said his life had changed completely since he entered foster care, saying he had become confident and happy.

He has changed his surname to that of his foster family.

A report by a clinical psychologist in respect of one of the children was also presented to the court. 

In a final letter, another child - now aged ten - outlined how he had been affected by the abuse he had suffered.

He said he did not feel safe talking to people and was afraid and worried a lot of the time.

He said sometimes he found it hard to socialise with people and felt sad, angry and scared when he thought of his mum.

The boy said he missed his brothers and sisters and wanted his mother to learn that she could not get away with what she had done to her children.

In his submission to the court this evening, Paul Flannery, SC for the Defence, outlined the woman's history.

He said she had a troubled past and asked that this be taken into account by the Judge in deciding a sentence.