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Written Answers - Juvenile Offenders

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 765 No. 3

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 124.  Deputy Seán Crowe Information on Sean Crowe Zoom on Sean Crowe  asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald  the arrangements in place for the transfer of children still in St. Patrick’s Institution, Dublin, to another more suitable location; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23976/12]

 136.  Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly  asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald  if she will provide an update on developments regarding juvenile detention policy and facilities. [23993/12]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Information on Frances Fitzgerald Zoom on Frances Fitzgerald I propose to take Questions Nos. 124 and 136 together.

The Programme for Government includes a commitment to end the practice of sending children to St Patrick’s Institution. This is the central principle of current policy in the area of juvenile detention and facilities. By agreement with the Minister for Justice and Equality, I assumed legal responsibility for the children detention schools on the Oberstown campus in Lusk, Co Dublin in January 2012 and considerable progress has been made toward meeting the commitment of the Government in this area. I am pleased to report that on 2 April 2012, following agreement with the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform I announced an investment package of approximately €50 million in capital funding for the project to expand the detention places and facilities on the Oberstown campus. This will involve the delivery within two years of sufficient new facilities at Oberstown to accommodate all children that are subject to detention by the courts, ending the requirement for anyone under 18 years to be sent to St. Patrick’s Institution.

On the same date, I also announced a number of interim measures to be carried out in advance of the Oberstown project. These measures included the following:

From 1 May 2012 newly remanded or sentenced 16 year old boys may be sent to the Children Detention Schools in Oberstown. Since that date, it has no longer been necessary for 16 year olds to be sent to St. Patrick’s Institution by the courts.

Enhanced provision of specialist therapeutic services for children in residential institutions, in both the children detention schools and special care units operated by the Health Service Executive. A specialist multi disciplinary service is being established for this purpose with the recruitment of a director for this service already underway.

The introduction of amendments to the Children Act to provide for the management of all facilities on the Oberstown campus (i.e. Oberstown Boy’s School, Trinity House School and Oberstown Girl’s School) on an integrated basis.

With these measures, good progress is being made on Government policy in the area of juvenile detention and facilities.

Question No. 125 answered with Question No. 119.

Question No. 126 answered with Question No. 113.


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