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Thursday 19 January 2017

HSE has no place for boy (13) who 'trashed' care facilities

Kathryn Hayes

Published 06/04/2011 | 05:00

The Health Service Executive (HSE) has no suitable accommodation available for a 13-year-old boy who is alleged to have "trashed" a number of care facilities and was described as "practically uncontrollable", the Children's Court has heard.

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The boy, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, appeared before the court in Limerick yesterday, where he is charged with causing thousands of euro worth of damage and assaulting a care worker at a HSE facility in Limerick last month.

Judge Tom O'Donnell was told that an application to place the boy in a secure care unit has been approved by the HSE but the availability of a place was the issue.

Superintendent John Scanlan, of Roxboro garda station, said it was important for the court to know how gardai ended up bringing charges against a 13-year-old.

Supt Scanlan said the boy, who has been in HSE care for the past few months, had behavioural difficulties at home and was accommodated at a number of facilities in the north-east before he was brought back to Limerick last month.

The garda referred to alleged incidents where care facilities in four counties were "trashed" and up to €50,000 in damage was caused, resulting in the closure of one facility.

A unit was subsequently opened in Limerick city especially for the 13-year-old last month, where it's alleged he caused between €5,000 and €10,000 worth of damage and assaulted a care worker.

Supt Scanlan said gardai "reluctantly" charged the youth in relation to the most recent incident.

"There is a view on the garda side that we should not criminalise him," he said, adding that gardai would be willing to withdraw the charges if a place becomes available for the defendant at a suitable secure unit.

The judge adjourned the case until April 19.

Irish Independent

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