Responding to this afternoon’s report published by An Garda Síochana, Fianna Fáil’s Justice Spokesperson Jim O’Callaghan said, “Youth offending in Ireland remains a very complex matter and many of those that present to our legal system tend to come from quite distressing, problematic circumstances. Despite this, however, those who have committed a crime should face a sanction of some degree.

“It is my understanding that a number of the cases in question involved very serious offences and that is of course extremely worrying. Imprisonment is not always the appropriate action to deal with those whose behaviour has led to their involvement with the youth justice system, but that is not to say that some 8,000 reported crimes should go without targeted, strategic attention.

“Should these crimes have gone unpunished due to administrative error or as a result of Garda negligence, it is essential that both the Minister and Government respond. Public safety is paramount and if it was in any way jeopardised by failing to penalise these serious crimes, explanations must be provided.

“It is very important that the delivery of youth justice services is strengthened and improved in order to tackle and reduce youth offending.”