New figures show that over the past 18 months, up to 35 young people who were known to social services in Ireland diedGoogle Images

A 47-year-old mother of eight, who pleaded guilty to neglect of her children has been jailed for eight years.

She was sentenced at Galway Circuit Criminal Court on Thursday. In order to protect the identity of the children, the woman cannot be named.

The court heard how the woman’s six girls and two boys were beaten with hammers, frying pans, whips, sticks and vice grips.  The abuse took place over a seven year period at various locations throughout Ireland between May 2002 and June 2009.

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The trial was described by the preceding Judge Raymond Groarke as a human tragedy and a monstrosity. Judge Groarke said that the woman had shown little remorse during the trial

Detective Garda Kieran McNamara told Newstalk Radio that one of the boys was physically abused to make him look handicapped, so the mother could claim disability allowance.

The judge imposed a sentence of 24 years, with the final 16 suspended. Her sentence was backdated to 2009, when she was taken into custody.