Fianna Fáil Spokesperson for Children and Youth Affairs Anne Rabbitte has called on the Children’s Minister to address significant deficits in staffing, psychiatric services and safety in Oberstown Youth Detention Centre.
Responding to the publication of a new HIQA inspection report, Deputy Rabbitte said, “The latest HIQA inspection indicates that there have been improvements in education and health services, but it has highlighted serious deficiencies – particularly in the provision of psychiatric services.
“As this report makes clear, there are still significant trust issues between management and staff at the facility. Staff appear to be overburdened and simply do not have time to build personal relationships of trust with the children in their care.
“An especially worrying finding in this Report is that that the facility has to frequently be put on lock down – with children confined to their rooms – due to staffing shortages.
“Three weeks ago in the Dáil, I urged the new Minister to intervene to ensure that staff receive more training to deal with the violent behaviour of some of the older, newer inmates that have been transferred to Oberstown from St. Patrick’s.
“There have been a number of very violent incidents in the last year that have left both staff and children traumatised. A recent episode where a detainee escaped and the facility was put on lock down brought to light issues regarding insufficient security training and inadequate resources. However, little has been done to respond to these very serious concerns.
“It is imperative that Minister Zappone acts on the recommendations of this report, engages with staff concerns and initiates a comprehensive investigation of safety issues at the facility”.