Monday 23 October 2017

Minister urged to outline youth offender plans

The Oberstown campus in Lusk
The Oberstown campus in Lusk

Fergal Maddock

Calls have been made on the Children's Minister to outline where juveniles are to be held following her announcement that the detention of young offenders in adult prisons will no longer continue.

Local senator and FF spokesperson on Justice, Children and Youth Affairs Lorraine Clifford Lee also called on Minister Katherine Zappone to publish a review of the Oberstown Children's Detention Campus in Lusk, which was ordered last year.

'An adult prison setting is not an appropriate setting for a teenager, and I am pleased that Minister Zappone is introducing a Ministerial Order to end this practice.'

'However, I have grave concerns about the number of youth detention places available in Ireland. The Oberstown facility, which is the main youth detention centre in the State, is not fit for purpose and is currently struggling to effectively operate while over capacity.'

She said there had been ongoing issues at the centre for some time and staff continued to face serious challenges including violent incidents, attacks on staff and industrial relations issues, and a dangerous lack of problems resources.

'It is simply not feasible to place additional youths in the unit at this point in time.

'Minister Zappone ordered a review of operations at Oberstown last September but to date there has been no interim report or update on its progress. This is highly unsatisfactory, especially for the staff employed at the facility.'

Fingal Independent