Thursday 29 September 2016

ERU deployed as Oberstown youth detention centre set on fire after hours of rioting by inmates

Published 29/08/2016 | 21:27

General view of fire at Oberstown Childcare facility. Man O War, North County Dublin. Picture; Caroline Quinn
General view of fire at Oberstown Childcare facility. Man O War, North County Dublin. Picture; Caroline Quinn
General view of Gardai at Oberstown Childcare facility. Man O War, North County Dublin. Picture; Caroline Quinn
General view of fire at Oberstown Childcare facility. Man O War, North County Dublin. Picture; Caroline Quinn
General view of fire engine at Oberstown Childcare facility. Man O War, North County Dublin. Picture; Caroline Quinn
General view of fire engine at Oberstown Childcare facility. Man O War, North County Dublin. Picture; Caroline Quinn
General view of Gardai at Oberstown Childcare facility. Man O War, North County Dublin. Picture; Caroline Quinn
The garda helicopter is seen above smoke billowing from Oberstown

A major fire broke out after hours of rioting at the National Youth Detention Centre in Oberstown, north County Dublin on Monday night.

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Residents reported seeing smoke and then flames 'billowing' from the troubled centre which houses up to 40 of the State's most dangerous young criminals.

Staff sources said a 'riot' broke out in the centre late Monday afternoon.

The Garda Emergency Response Unit was sent to the Oberstown Centre at 9pm after youths seized control.

General view of fire engine at Oberstown Childcare facility. Man O War, North County Dublin. Picture; Caroline Quinn
General view of fire engine at Oberstown Childcare facility. Man O War, North County Dublin. Picture; Caroline Quinn

This following trouble over the weekend in which substantial damage was done to a wing of the centre which was visited last week by Pat Kenny as part of a tour by the Centre's director Mr Pat Bergin.

The pair even exchanged a joke about the 're-engineering' of the Unit which was being put on display after it had been totally refurbished after previously being damaged.

The weekend violence followed by trouble this morning prompted staff - after complaining about attacks, injuries and fear for their lives - to walk out in protest.

By teatime the situation in the centre was said to be getting out of control. Local people said smoke started coming from the centre at around 9pm followed by visible flames 15 minutes later.

General view of fire at Oberstown Childcare facility. Man O War, North County Dublin. Picture; Caroline Quinn
General view of fire at Oberstown Childcare facility. Man O War, North County Dublin. Picture; Caroline Quinn

The Garda helicopter arrived at 9.15 followed by what locals said was a succession of fire and other emergency vehicles.

One resident who could see the fire from his back garden said: "We heard sirens and more sirens and thought it might have been a crash on the (M1) motorway. Then we saw smoke billowing out of the place. Then you could see flames."

General view of fire engine at Oberstown Childcare facility. Man O War, North County Dublin. Picture; Caroline Quinn
General view of fire engine at Oberstown Childcare facility. Man O War, North County Dublin. Picture; Caroline Quinn

The witness added there had been consternation in the area after the previous break-out attempt earlier this month in which teenage inmates armed with golf clubs and a ladder they stole from a storeroom attacked staff and then scaled the 30ft perimeter wall, All five were quickly arrested but local people said it was lucky they were caught so quickly.

Residents in the Rush-Lusk area reported smoke and flames 'billowing' out of the National Youth Detention Centre shortly after 9pm.

One member of staff was reported to have been seriously injured and taken to hospital after being attacked by inmates yesterday evening. No further details were available.

Eight youths remain on the roof. Six units of Dublin Fire Brigade are at the scene.

A spokesperson for the Minister for Children, Katherine Zappone, said the Minister would not be issuing any comment while the situation was ongoing. 

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