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After a fire, violence and a strike Oberstown 'making real progress'

The number of young people being detained in Oberstown has dropped over the past 12 months.

Image: Iain White/Fennell Photography

THE OBERSTOWN CAMPUS is making ‘real progress’ its chairperson said today after a ‘challenging year’.

The youth detention centre has seen a fire, a standoff with a Garda riot squad and industrial action in the last year, but today launched a new pathway for youth detention in Ireland.

The event marked the campus’ first anniversary in its current guise as a combined care, health and education facility.

Chair of the facility Professor Ursula Kilkelly said that while this year was challenging, a number of external reviews commissioned in response had allowed an implementation plan be put in place.

“The reviews allowed us to access external expert advice and assistance and forge this path for the future and we are making real progress under the direction of an Implementation Group which comprises representatives of the Board and Management of Oberstown, the Department of Children, Director, staff and other key stakeholders.”

Children’s Minister Katherine Zappone said:

”Oberstown is a most important part of our youth justice system and its successful operation is critical to ensuring that children are supported in their learning and development.

“Our ultimate objective is to ensure that the optimum care and attention continues to be given to children residing in Oberstown. Essential to this is ensuring that the people working in Oberstown are supported through good organisation, training and development.”

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Oberstown Director Pat Bergin says that the campus has improved in the last year.

“Significant improvements had been made on buildings and facilities on the campus and we have enhanced Campus policies and services as well as training and supports for staff.”

The number of young people being detained in Oberstown has dropped over the past 12 months. As of 15 May 2017, there were 29 children (capacity is 48) in Oberstown, 22 serving a period of detention and seven remanded in custody.

The Department of Children says this downward trend is as a result of the Garda Diversion Programme, the use of alternative sanctions under the Children Act 2001, improved release planning supports and increased legislative awareness that detention of a child should be imposed only as a measure of last resort.

Read: ‘Regular violent assaults’ lead staff to strike at Oberstown youth detention facility

Read: Oberstown youth who allegedly threw TV and hit staff member is charged over siege

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