Opinion Brendan Keenan

Sunday 18 February 2018

Ingrained inertia will kill off any attempt at meaningful reform

ABOUT 10 years ago, I shared a radio studio on the late-lamented Sam Smyth programme with Mary Hanafin when she was a junior minister responsible for children – a brief that encompassed the departments of Education, Justice and Social Protection.

Judge Peter Kelly – now of Commercial Court fame – had threatened to pack some or all of these ministers off to Mountjoy with their overnight bags if something was not done about the lack of detention centres for young offenders.

Last week, Judge Ann Ryan demanded an appearance by a minister in court to explain, er, the lack of detention centres for young offenders. A new minister, Frances Fitzgerald, with full cabinet responsibility for children, insisted via her officials that the problem would be sorted soon – just as Ms Hanafin did a decade ago – but not before mid-2014.

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