Tuesday 16 July 2019

Oberstown responds to reports of a 'stand-off'

The Oberstown campus near Lusk
The Oberstown campus near Lusk

Management at Oberstown Children's Detention Campus in Lusk have responded to reports in the national media at the weekend that described a 'two-hour stand-off' between a teenager detained at the campus and staff.

The report said the teenager 'threatened staff' with a metal television bracket that was torn from the wall and used as a weapon.

Responding the article which describes the children detained at Oberstown as 'prisoners', campus manager, Pat Bergin said: 'Young people are referred to Oberstown Children Detention Campus by the courts and are in detention and not in a prison.'

Mr Bergin acknowledged that there are sometimes difficulties in managing the behaviour of the children detained at the campus and while declining to comment on this specific reported incident, he said: 'Some of the young people in our care find it difficult to manage their behaviour.

'Staff are there to help them and are trained to manage their behaviour, set limitations and resolve issues should they arise. It is not appropriate to comment on individual young people or incidences.

'These are operational matters and are part of the work being done on a daily basis with young people living within detention.'

The reports of the incident which is said to have occurred last Friday evening, claims that gardaí were not called to the incident, and the Fingal Independent's inquiries on Monday appear to back that up with no record of the incident held by local gardaí.

In an exclusive interview with the Fingal Independent earlier this year, Mr Bergin said that the relationship with local gardaí and the campus was changing and he wanted to be less reliant on Garda assistance.

He said: 'The issue was, that of old, when a management issue arose in one of the schools here, the Gardaí would be called. For example, a young person might have refused to go into his bedroom and the Gards were called. I discussed this with the Gardaí and I would have very strong views on this, that we need to manage that ourselves and that's not a Garda role.'

In that same interview, Mr Bergin said that Oberstown was changing the way it dealt with violent incidences on the campus to an approach that tries to avoid conflict situations and instead, looked to address the underlying problems causing the aggression in the first place.

Fingal Independent