Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Children & Youth Affairs Anne Rabbitte has called on Minister Katherine Zappone to engage with management at Oberstown youth detention centre to get to the bottom of safety and security issues that have been raised by staff.  Workers at the facility are staging an 8 hour work stoppage today as part of an ongoing dispute over safety concerns.

Deputy Rabbitte commented, “I am gravely concerned about the ongoing situation at Oberstown.  There have been a number of violent incidents in recent months where staff and residents have been left traumatised.  Despite this, there has been very little improvement in security training or staff resources.

“There have been a series of issues at the Oberstown site following the transfer of older teenagers from St. Patrick’s and Wheatfield last year.  Security breaches have become almost commonplace, yet the Ministerial and management inaction continues.

“Staff at the facility have become so frustrated with the situation that they have had to undertake industrial action.  These are people who are dedicated to their roles and who have been calling for improvements for months.  Unfortunately their pleas are falling on deaf ears.

“It is not good enough that these dangerous conditions are allowed to prevail.  I would like to see the management of the Oberstown facility brought before the Oireachtas Committee on Health & Children to explain what is being done to address these safety and security issues.  It is unfair on staff and residents to allow the current conditions to continue and it is important that we get to the bottom of the issues that are perpetrating this situation as a matter of urgency”.