Thursday 23 November 2017

Over €1m damage to Oberstown in new riot

Oberstown Children's Detention Centre
Oberstown Children's Detention Centre
Jim Cusack

Jim Cusack

More than €1m worth of further damage is believed to have been caused in the latest outbreak of rioting in the country's only detention centre for teenage criminals.

Youths at Oberstown Children Detention Campus in north county Dublin went on what sources described as a "drug-fuelled" rampage last Tuesday.

And, it is claimed that embattled staff were told they could not restrain the rioters if they were 'only' causing damage to property.

Staff are also prevented from searching inmates for drugs under the EU-inspired guidelines for detaining 'children' under the age of 18. Sources say the inmates are freely using smuggled drugs, including heroin in tablet form.

The Department of Children and Youth Affairs, which has responsibility for the centre, declined to make any comment on the latest rampage, saying that it "does not comment on operational issues" at Oberstown.

Unit 4, where last Tuesday's violence and damage took place, was previously damaged in rioting and only reopened after extensive repairs two months ago.

In an attempt to boost the centre's image last month, management invited broadcaster Pat Kenny to visit during a period of calm. Repairs to Unit 4, which he visited, had just been completed. Staff say it is now "destroyed" again.

Employees have warned that the current guidelines by the department over drugs searches will lead to a fatality.

One said: "Young persons have bags of drugs and management will not sanction a restraint to remove them so they are taking drugs and staff wait to deal with an overdose."

Sunday Independent

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