Fianna Fáil Spokesperson for Children Robert Troy TD says the new Government must move to address the serious health and safety concerns surrounding the youth detention centre at Oberstown.
Deputy Troy made the comments after residential care workers and night supervising staff at the centre voted overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action due to safety concerns.
“It’s alarming to see industrial action being undertaken by staff at Oberstown, but unfortunately this news will come as no shock to those that are familiar with the facility. Staff at Oberstown have been highlighting serious health and safety concerns at the centre for months now. They feel that their concerns are being ignored by senior management,” said Deputy Troy.
“A new health and safety inspection has shown that the buildings in the complex are unsafe, and that the facility is not serving staff or residents adequately. Over 100 violent incidents took place at the centre last year and the staff have pointed out that the substandard nature of the accommodation creates the environment for these assaults to take place.
“The issue stems from the fact that a change in legislation took place under the last Government which resulted in residents aged from 16 to 18 being housed at the centre. Prior to this only those aged 16 and under were being accommodated at the facility. There should have been an overhaul of the health and safety practices at the centre when this change took place, but unfortunately this did not happen.
“The Minister for Children Katherine Zappone should take on board the concerns being raised by staff at the facility. Management need to act on the recommendations made following health and safety inspections and deliver new safety practices, procedures and equipment as recommended. It’s in everybody’s interest to resolve this dispute and Fianna Fáil will not be found wanting in this regard,” said Deputy Troy.