THE YOUNG BOY who was the subject of comments by Judge Anne Ryan in the Children’s Court this morning has been arrested.
He was detained this afternoon on foot of the bench warrant issued earlier. According to the Courts Service, a bed became available for him at Oberstown Boys School. He has been remanded in detention until next Thursday.
During a hearing today, Justice Ryan strongly criticised the Department of Children and Youth Affairs for failing to provide enough detention places for juvenile defenders.
She had requested Minister Frances Fitzgerald to appear in court but two of her representatives attended in her place. They were told that explanations on the lack of beds for juvenile offenders were “not good enough”, reports RTÉ News.
“Get those eight beds open now please,” she said.
According to Justice Ryan, there have been 18 occasions in the past three weeks that the courts have been unable to detain children charged with serious offences because of a lack of spaces in detention facilities.
Last year, Minister Fitzgerald ordered that no child under the age of 16 should be sent to St Patrick’s Institution. Work on a new facility at Oberstown is yet to begin and it is not expected to be completed until mid-2014.
Today, the Minister said there are currently 36 beds available at Oberstown, higher than the average number of referrals from the Children’s Courts last year. She added that there is work being undertaken currently to open a new eight-bed unit at the facility.
“I can’t give you precise dates, but I would hope with the cooperation of the staff…we should move to a position in the near future.”
Fitzgerald claims that demand varies and places are flexible at the three units in Oberstown – Trinity House School, Oberstown Boys School and Oberstown Girls School.