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Friday 22 September 2017

Major failings in children's detention centre

Oberstown Children's Detention Campus
Oberstown Children's Detention Campus

Ian Begley

Oberstown detention centre has failed to meet eight out of 10 national safety standards, according to a Hiqa report.

The publication came following an inspection at the Oberstown Children Detention Campus in Lusk, Co Dublin.

It found that some residents were forced to spend long periods of time separated from their peers, a method used by carers as a last resort.

Of the 10 standards assessed at the facility, only two were compliant and six were deemed as moderate non-compliant.

It also identified two major risks, relating to the management of medications. During the inspection, 35 males aged between 14 and 18 were present in Oberstown.

Commenting on the report, Pat Bergin, director of Oberstown, said an action plan was developed following the inspection.

"As the report highlights, Oberstown is going through a period of major change and challenges remain," he said.

"The action plan that has been developed will assist in meeting these and further build on the progress achieved at the campus as a single facility, over the last year."

The campus was already being reviewed by international experts following several incidents, including protests by staff members last year.

Last August, a fire broke out at the centre after a number of residents climbed onto the building's roof. In May, staff were assaulted before three youths escaped using an angle grinder to cut through a fence.

Incidents

Last month, Mr Bergin said there were two incidents involving residents, one of which required garda intervention.

Children's Minister Katherine Zappone told the Irish Independent she welcomes the "robust inspection" process of Hiqa in relation to Oberstown.

"I am pleased to see an action plan has been agreed to address any deficiencies in practice and I note many of these measures which will improve the day-to-day operations have already been put in place," she said.

Irish Independent

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