An Irish judge has accused the Roma community of raising their children to steal, and she said they were responsible for "our shops being robbed blind".
At the Dublin Children's Court, Judge Aingeal Ni Chonduin was dealing with the case of a now 16-year-old Roma mother of one, who admitted the theft of several pairs of shoes and handling stolen clothes.
Defence solicitor Gareth Noble said the girl had been brought to Ireland at the age of 13 by her partner, who is five years older, and his family.
She gave birth to a child at the age of 15 and her own parents still reside in Romania. The girl was still in a relationship with the father of her child and lived with him and his mother, the court was told.
The Republic's Health Service Executive had conducted welfare assessments into the girl's situation, but did not deem that any action was necessary.
"That seems to be the culture, that is the way the families function, unfortunately, to go about to steal," Judge Ni Chonduin said regarding the girl's circumstances. She also said it seemed that the children were "raised" to steal.
"It is a different culture, it does not go with our ways and our shops are being robbed blind," she said.
The girl had admitted theft of €320 of children's shoes from Liffey Valley Shopping Centre, in Dublin, on June 11 last, possessing stolen underwear, taken from a shop in Dublin city centre on a date last July, and failing to attend her court case on another date.
Judge Ni Chonduin imposed a seven-day sentence backdated to when the girl, who resides in Dublin, went into custody. A €200 fine was also imposed.